Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo: REUTERS file
politics

Abe ties record for Japan's longest-serving PM

23 Comments
By Linda Sieg

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tied Japan's record for longest-serving premier on Tuesday - a remarkable feat for a leader who once quit in humiliation - amid economic worries and allegations that he violated election laws.

Abe, 65, has won relatively high marks for his diplomacy. His warm ties with U.S. President Donald Trump may have averted worst-case scenarios in trade feuds, although little progress has been made on a territorial row with Russia and relations with South Korea are frigid.

"There is no other world leader getting along so well with Trump," said Akihisa Nagashima, a one-time opposition lawmaker who now in Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.

Abe, who served a troubled one-year term before quitting in 2007, made a comeback in December 2012, promising a stronger military and a revamped economy while aiming to revise Japan's post-war, pacifist constitution.

Abe has now served a total 2,886 days in office, tying the record set by Taro Katsura more than a century ago.

He has led his ruling coalition to six national election victories since returning, surviving allegations of cronyism and scandals over falsified data by bureaucrats.

Those victories were aided by a fragmented opposition and memories of the rocky 2009-2012 rule by the novice Democratic Party of Japan, which left many voters longing for stability.

"The biggest reason (for his longevity) is that he's better than the DPJ government," Seiko Noda, an LDP lawmaker and potential Abe rival, told Reuters.

But since a cabinet reshuffle in September, two ministers - both close allies of Abe - have had to resign over allegations of election campaign law violations.

Now Abe is under fire over accusations he not only favored supporters with invites to a state-funded cherry blossom viewing party but may have broken campaign laws by subsidising backers' attendance at a reception the night before.

Abe has denied wrongdoing. A Nov 16-17 Asahi newspaper poll showed 68% were not convinced by his explanations, though his support rating was steady at 44%.

Concerns that the economy is headed for recession amid the fading impacts of his "Abenomics" policies also cloud Abe's future. Critics say his third "arrow" of structural reform never flew.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

23 Comments
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This is just another way of saying Japan's poor and middle class has had to suffer the longest under a PM that doesn't know nor care about them.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

A great Prime Minister for a great nation. Remember that Japanese people voted him, so this is what they want.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

A good 2,500+ days too many.

Get Droopy and his crooked LDP cronies outta there ready.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

no kidding . . .

-sighs- . . . Japan really needs a breath of fresh air . . .

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Quantity does not equal quality!

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Nothing to be proud of, but what does he care. He is laughing all the way to the bank.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Abe has denied wrongdoing. A Nov 16-17 Asahi newspaper poll showed 68% were not convinced by his explanations, though his support rating was steady at 44%.

The support rating is more about a lack of any option. If there was someone who the public could look to as an alternative, I would bet this number would change quickly!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

An article written very favorably of Abe.No surprise though.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

It's a depressing thought that a country with such a large population can't do any better for leadership than this... person.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

"There is no other world leader getting along so well with Trump," said Akihisa Nagashima

Sounds more like an insult.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Good luck...Japan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Alternative person or at least alternative party? for us all to have fruitful discussion board.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well done PM Abe, Congratulations! An amazing achievement, and a truly brilliant 2,886 days as ruler. There is simply no leader more accomplished in diplomacy on the world stage. None.

PM Abe has cemented Japan as USA and Trumps Number One partner, stared down a belligerent South Korea, lead the CPTPP to put Japan in the best position in world trade, and not backed down to Communist China unlike most world leaders.

Long may he reign! 5 more years I hope.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

^^^Is this person insane? He's one of the most corrupt I've ever seen this country to produce... I actually used to respect Japanese PMs until he overstayed his welcome

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Does a long serving PM make Japan stronger or weaker?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As more negative comments I see here, more proof that Abe served the best interest of Japan!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@showchinmono

Alternative person or at least alternative party? for us all to have fruitful discussion board.

That's the key. Neither Yukio Edano's Rikken Minshutō nor any other political party has viable practical proposals. They always appeal to sentimental solutions that are impossible to apply.

The only people within the field of opposition with reasonable ideas to apply are for example Yuriko Koike. Or the mayor of Osaka Ichirō Matsui.

Anyway, Abe's not running for another term anymore. It is a PM that only waits until the end of 2021. Now the race for his successor will begin in the LPD.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Most unfortunate. The majority of the electorate are sheep.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Citizens of Japan must love him. Warms my heart.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

After he quit the last time complaining of stomachache and all the scandals that followed him, he made up his mind to watch the political proceedings from the back benches quietly for the rest of his life. But the DPJ rule from 2009 - 2012 and all those who became PM of Japan after Hatoyama and Naoto Kan, convinced Abe that he could do 'better'. DPJ' Noda and Edano (?) were bad. Abe lacked confidence and competence the first time around. The brief stint of Noda as PM convinced Abe that if "lesser" beings like DPJ's successive leaders after Hatoyama and Kan could be PMs of Japan, then he Abe must muster courage and rule. Remember Abe comes from a prominent political dynasty in Japan. So did Hatoyama and Naoto Kan after him but the same cannot be said about Noda and Edano.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well done PM Abe, Congratulations! An amazing achievement, and a truly brilliant 2,886 days as ruler. There is simply no leader more accomplished in diplomacy on the world stage. None.

PM Abe has cemented Japan as USA and Trumps Number One partner, stared down a belligerent South Korea, lead the CPTPP to put Japan in the best position in world trade, and not backed down to Communist China unlike most world leaders.

Long may he reign! 5 more years I hope.

Let me add:

Homeless at record low and unemployment at a record low and child poverty at record low.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

B. JayToday  04:07 am JST

After he quit the last time complaining of stomachache and all the scandals that followed him, he made up his mind to watch the political proceedings from the back benches quietly for the rest of his life. But...

Not too sure where you're going with any of this.

Remember Abe comes from a prominent political dynasty in Japan. 

That's good?

The problem I see here is not so much that Abe is a deeply corrupt, incompetent wannabe autocrat as the positive comments about him display a distinct intellectual vacuity on the part of his supporters. I've never read a credible defense of his record in office - while it may be true that he's better than the DPJ government as Seiko Noda claims that's not much of an accomplishment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

alwaysspeakingbollocks:

PM Abe has cemented Japan as USA and Trumps Number One partner

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/15/trump-asks-tokyo-quadruple-payments-us-troops-japan/

Because that's the way you handle partners, right? Don't be silly, there's a good chap.

I chose to make this country my home, and a quarter-century later, I still love it here. But the sooner this Nippon Kaigi stooge, with his endless stream of sordid scandals, stops making Japan a joke on the world stage, the better.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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