Nippon: Does The Sun Rise Anew?
The longest-serving Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, recently tendered his resignation because of health reasons. This is for the second time when he has done it, as Abe had resigned as PM in 2007 for the same reason. Later, he returned to Politics and served as the Prime Minister for four years. Only Time can tell whether Abe, a successful politician, would do it again. However, one can readily assess his success as the Prime Minister of Japan.
Abe has always considered India as an important partner of Japan in Asia. In India, he is popularly known as a ‘Friend of India‘. He has played a major role in strengthening Indo-Japan ties in the 21st Century. In 2007, the seasoned Japanese politician addressed a Joint Session of the Indian Parliament, during which he coined the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ (instead of Asia-Pacific), saying that the region was the confluence of the two seas. Abe further stressed on a Diplomatic Alliance of four Democracies, including the US and Australia. Experts are of the opinion that Abe paved the way for India to extend its diplomatic influence to the Pacific Region. It may be recalled that Nobusuke Kishi – the maternal grandfather of Abe who was also the Prime Minister of Japan from 1957 to 1960 – had a personal relationship with Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.
Outgoing Prime Minister Abe has worked really hard to increase the Geopolitical Importance of Japan, globally! It is because of him Tokyo’s sphere of influence has extended to the Indian Ocean, and his moves have created a possibility of countering China’s hegemony in the region. Japan had emerged as an economic power long ago. However, the Geopolitical Importance of Japan increased only after the arrival of Abe in the arena of National Politics of Japan. Abe came up with a specific plan to fill that gap, and successfully stamped Japan’s authority in the Indo-Pacific Region! In the post-WWII period, Japan had made a steady economic progress with the help of the US. Abe helped his country stand firmly on its own feet. His economic policy, famously known as ‘Abenomics‘, has proved effective not only in the Pacific Region and Asia, but also in Africa.
Choosing Abe’s successor was not an easy task. However, Japan’s Governing Party has picked Yoshihide Suga to succeed Abe. Currently, Abe is the most important person in Japanese politics. The 65-year-old politician is also very popular in his own constituency. His successor needs to be well aware of the days of political instability and strategic backwardness in the pre-Abe era. In other words, Suga may well have to follow the path taken by his predecessor. Japan will face elections in 2021. Before that, the people of Japan need to have high expectations of Suga.
The Government of Japan has been accused of failing to preventing the spread of Coronavirus. It may be one of the reasons behind Abe’s resignation. It seems that Japan may not shy away from the path shown by Abe at the moment. However, no one can predict the future, which lies uncertain…
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