Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe arrive at the airport in Biarritz, France, for the first day of the G-7 summit, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump and the six other leaders of the Group of Seven nations will begin meeting Saturday for three days in the southwestern French resort town of Biarritz. France holds the 2019 presidency of the G-7, which also includes Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) Photo: AP
politics

Abe becomes 2nd-longest-serving Japanese prime minister

31 Comments

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became Japan's second-longest-serving prime minister Saturday, exceeding Eisaku Sato, his great-uncle, who served for 2,798 days in the 1960s to 1970s.

Abe, who has now become the country's longest-serving leader after World War II, stands a good chance of winning the title of all time in November, trailing the current record holder Taro Katsura, who served 2,886 days.

Following the first shorter stint between 2006 and 2007, since his 2012 return, Abe, whose government has focused on boosting the deflation-mired economy, has secured relatively solid public support as he has no strong rivals.

Still, he is far from achieving his long-held goal of amending the pacifist Constitution for the first time since it took effect in 1947.

As the ruling coalition and other like-minded lawmakers in favor of constitutional reform lost the two-thirds majority in an upper house election in July, Abe is now urging opposition parties to engage first in parliamentary debate over the supreme law. Such a majority is required to start the revision process.

On the foreign affairs front, Abe faces a host of challenges. Japan has yet to make any tangible progress in dealing with issues such as North Korea's abductions in the 1970s and 1980s of Japanese nationals and signing a postwar peace treaty with Russia by resolving a territorial dispute.

Sato, who is now the third-longest-serving Japanese leader after Abe, is known for achieving Okinawa's reversion to Japan from the United States in 1972 and signing a treaty that normalized ties between Japan and South Korea in the postwar era.

Decades later, the 1965 treaty is at the center of a diplomatic dispute between Tokyo and Seoul, and ties between them have recently sunk to the worst in years.

South Korea's top court last year ordered Japanese firms to compensate for wartime forced labor during Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Tokyo has maintained that it and Seoul had agreed in 1965 to settle the issue of compensation "finally and completely."

Mutual trust is also at stake as the two nations have locked horns over trade policy, first triggered by Tokyo's tightening of export controls on some South Korea-bound materials used in making crystal displays and semiconductors.

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31 Comments
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Abe, who has now become the country's longest-serving leader after World War II, stands a good chance of winning the title of all time in November...

Not on merit.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

I don't agree with everything Abe has done and said, but I certainly applaud him for standing up to the Chinese and South Korean governments that tried to needlessly bully and shame Japan and its people. Especially people like Moon, who thought Abe and Japan were soft and would just lay there with its head tucked between its tail.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

A case of quantity over quality I think.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

The mere fact that he ended the so called revolving door policy and as @Oldman said, standing up to all the bashings through all these yrs is highly commendable. Wishing the best for him!

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Spitfire - A case of quantity over quality I think.

I was just about to write exactly the same comment.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

oldman_13Today  07:27 am JST

I don't agree with everything Abe has done and said, but I certainly applaud him for standing up to the Chinese and South Korean governments that tried to needlessly bully and shame Japan...

He's just playing to his right-wing nationalist base. Apart from stirring up trouble it hasn't achieved a whole lot either.

trinklets2Today  08:09 am JST

The mere fact that he ended the so called revolving door policy and as @Oldman said, standing up to all the bashings through all these yrs is highly commendable. Wishing the best for him!

The revolving door period is over which means instead of six or seven mediocre prime ministers in as many years Japan has had just one. I don't think the country is any better off really.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

This only goes to prove even further that there is no viable opposition to put any real change in government in place. Particularly when the "main" opposition is pretty much all a bunch of former LDP party members, and the electorate cant tell the difference between them!

At any other time, Abe would have been kicked out by his own party for not achieving any of his stated goals, but there aren't any viable choices to choose from within the party. Not anyone that could control all the factions within the LDP itself that is.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Congratulations, PM Abe! He has shown himself to be a man who stands up for Japan and Japanese people, against bullies. The streetfighter from Yamaguchi is tough, and has come a long way!

PM Abe has got Japan back, but there is still more work for him to do: keeping the economy growing nicely, directing Tokyo 2020, and changing the Constitution in these dangerous times.

1 ( +16 / -15 )

Abe becomes 2nd-longest-serving Japanese prime minister

I don't think that it says a lot for democracey in Japan.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Ganbare Japan!Today  08:37 am JST

The streetfighter from Yamaguchi is tough, and has come a long way!

That's hilarious.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

FWIW Abe probably is doing the best he can for someone who has to work with Trump and with the cards that he has. What foreign head of state has a better relationship than Abe with Trump?

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

quercetumToday  09:35 am JST

What foreign head of state has a better relationship than Abe with Trump?

Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Benjamin Netanyahu and King Salman of Saudi Arabia. None of them exactly bastions of moral fibre.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I doubt it very much whether Abe will be able to survive the triple blows of a consumption tax hike, a post-Olympics recession and stagnation in world trade caused by the US-China trade war.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Remember there's nothing stopping the LDP from extending term limits

With such a risk adverse voting population that just vote LDP it's pretty comical to call Japan a democracy. At least they prevented him from getting the majority he needed to change the constitution outright. And in doing so it also hampers his plans for a more assertive military, but those are the only pluses. He still made Japan an arms dealer in 2014.   

A weak and non independent court system has shown of late that there really isn't a lot of there, there. It's not there to hold politicians to account but be an instrument of the ruling class.  

Shadows of China-light, but at least Japanese are free to travel. Without allowable public discourse on issues though it's not the population's concerns that push the agenda.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

It's not how long he has served but how well he has served all of the people of Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

He's also the second most corrupt, after PM Tanaka.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

sf2kToday  10:24 am JST

Remember there's nothing stopping the LDP from extending term limits

With such a risk adverse voting population that just vote LDP it's pretty comical to call Japan a democracy...

This comment is quite typical of the substantive criticisms of the LDP and the current administration. The best that Abe supporters can come up with to refute it is often hard to tell apart from trolling.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yep he should go down as the greatest scam artist as well. People fell for his snake oil because he promised to improve lives by fixing the economy. Lies of course. All he really cared about was setting this rather useless record just so he can show off to his already gone pacifist father who constantly belittled him. That's all really. Ego trips.

By the time he leaves, japan will require a miracle and a few generations to return to normalcy.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Thing good of others good will happen to u think bad of others good aint happening to u. What happens tomorrow no one knows just wait n watch

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I mean think good

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wallace Fred,

Agee with you but the LDP screwed up Japan before Abe took over. Koizumi was the

Reagan of Japan with the fake supply side economics and Abe is the Trump of Japan

using fake policy announcements that then go nowhere. Like his 3 arrows. Or Womanomics.

The list goes on and on. Japan is in serious trouble with the debt and aging issues. The LDP

has no one that can lead the country and the opposition is a joke. Not good. But no doubt

Abe makes things worse. Like with SK and NK for that matter. Both failures. Oh, and Russia.

And if Trump slaps tariffs on Japanese cars, which is possible, the USA too despite the kissy

kissy strategy Abe has used in the last two plus years with Trump.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Abe is just a basic Japanese prime minister.No more, no less.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Abe becomes 2nd-longest-serving Japanese prime minister? So, that means a long life, or anything else?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe is one of the finest Prime Ministers Japan has had..and I am very glad he is doing such good work for the country.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

ifd66,

Cheers for that.....great minds and all of that as well.

In my country right now.....we have an abundance of bad politicians but Japan seems to have a conveyor belt of them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

He gets the prize. Another term of being PM when this term is over

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I remember an article I read (believe BBC) lamenting the long reign of the "dictator" putin in Russia. It failed to call "dictator" to Angela Merkel in germany who had served in the exact same position (Chancellor) for just 2 years less time than putin had served in 2 different offices. Yeah, the govts are different, but article was focusing on their term of office.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Meiyouwenti Today 09:59 am JST

I doubt it very much whether Abe will be able to survive the triple blows of a consumption tax hike, a post-Olympics recession and stagnation in world trade caused by the US-China trade war.

Abe is an already amortized Prime Minister. And all that remains is for him to reach the summer of 2020, to be the visible face of that year's Olympic Games in front of world leaders. Right now he's an outgoing leader in office. And he will no longer run for a new term.

All the problems you describe in your comment. It will be the work for the future Prime Minister who will replace Shinzo Abe in office. Name we don't know yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Are they counting his first stint as PM together with the current one? He had the chance to serve two times as PM and now likely to become the longest serving PM when you put the two stints together. He must have some concrete achievements to his name else it becomes a case of just quantity over quality. Koizumi could have broken that record if he wanted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Long Live PM Abe.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think he is related to Sato as a result of his marriage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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