Japan’s new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, vows to strengthen ties with US

Abe also promises to revive economy with aggressive monetary easing and big fiscal spending to halt deflation.

Reuters, December 26

Tokyo – The new Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has promised to battle deflation and a strong yen, and bolster ties with the United States as he kicked off a second administration committed to reviving the economy while coping with a rising China.

A hawk on security matters, Abe, 58, has promised aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan and big fiscal spending by the debt-laden government to revese deflation and weaken the yen to make Japanese exports more competitive.


“With the strength of my entire cabinet, I will implement bold monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy and a growth strategy that encourages private investment, and with these three policy pillars, achieve results,” Abe told a news conference after parliament voted him in as Japan’s seventh prime minister in six years.

Abe’s long-dominant Liberal Democratic party (LDP) surged back to power in this month’s election, three years after a crushing defeat at the hands of the novice Democratic party of Japan.


Others who share Abe’s agenda to revise the pacifist constitution and rewrite Japan’s wartime history with a less apologetic tone were also given posts, including conservative lawmaker Hakubun Shimomura as education minister.

“These are really LDP right-wingers and close friends of Abe,” said Sophia University professor Koichi Nakano. “It really doesn’t look very fresh at all.”

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  • Japan Hints It May Revise an Apology on Sex Slaves

    New York Times, By Martin Fackler, December 27

    Tokyo — A top official hinted Thursday that Japan’s newly installed conservative government might seek to revise a nearly two-decade-old official apology to women forced into sexual slavery during World War II, a move that would most likely outrage South Korea and possibly other former victims of Japanese militarism.

    Speaking a day after the new cabinet was named, the official, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who serves as the government’s top spokesman, refused to say clearly whether the new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, an outspoken nationalist, would uphold the 1993 apology.

    Mr. Suga said at a news conference that it would be “desirable for experts and historians to study” the so-called Kono Statement, which acknowledged the Imperial Army’s involvement in forcing thousands of captured Asian and Dutch women to provide sex for Japanese soldiers. Most historians say the women were coerced and were not prostitutes, as Mr. Abe and other nationalists have claimed in the past.

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