This multi-authored book focuses upon the period of Japanese politics in which Abe Shinzō was prime minister (2012-2020). By contrast with previous decades the 2010s were a period of relative political stability. Much of this stability may be explained by the transformation of Japanese politics from a system of pluralistic factional politics within the ‘ruling’ Liberal Democratic Party, to a system of centralized power based on the Kantei (prime minister’s office). This radical change, ably explained in Chapter 1, forms the essential political background for subsequent chapters, on Abe’s economic legacy, handling of the pandemic, gender policies, transformation of security policy, Japanese relations with the United States, China, North and South Korea, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. The book concludes with chapters assessing the impact of the Abe prime ministership on Japanese foreign policy in general and Japan’s image in the outside world.
The Abe period was obviously a crucial one for Japan, but also deeply controversial. This book provides the reader with a clear understanding of the complexities involved. — Arthur Stockwin, University of Oxford
The book updates our knowledge of developments in Japanese politics across the last decade. It will become essential reading for all those teaching and learning about contemporary Japan as well as those outside academic settings who need to understand what is happening within Japanese politics.
These chapters are consistently well-written, with each providing a brief survey of the relevant contextual information before focusing on what Abe did or did not achieve. This set of essays explains what he accomplished while in power and tries to assess what his legacy may be.— Ian Neary, University of Oxford
Abe Shinzō has been hyped as a transformative figure in japan and on the world stage during his long tenure as prime minister. This edited volume thoroughly and comprehensively evaluates this reputation. It is oriented around three simple questions. How was Abe Shinzō able to remain in power for the best part of a decade; what changes did Abe make and how beneficial were they for Japan; finally, what is his political legacy now that he has left office?
Fourteen substantive chapters cover a wide range of domestic issues, as well as security and foreign policy, concluding with pieces on Abe’s contributions to Japan’s overseas image and global importance. Despite having successfully used prior political reforms to centralize power and stay in power, sometimes using questionable methods, this volume offers a realistic, critical, and balanced evaluation of Abe’s contributions, importance and legacy both domestically and internationally. A major contribution to the literature on Japan’s politics, policymaking, and role in world affairs.— Ellis Krauss, University of California, San Diego