By Osamu Kusumoto
TOKYO, Jul 11 2022 (IPS)
Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Japan, has died. It was a murder caused by a personal grudge rather than political terrorism. And it was not a direct grudge against Mr. Abe. A religious group had supported Mr. Abe, and a murderer with a grudge against the religious group killed him. Murders targeting politicians are often related to political messages or claims. This is a very unique case in that the murder was committed out of a personal grudge, not against the individual for what he did, but against the organization that supported the individual.
In Japan, guns are strictly regulated and crimes involving guns are extremely rare. The gun used was a homemade gun, not one that is sold on the market. Therefore, it was an extremely difficult case to prevent through institutional efforts such as gun control. In many ways, we believe that a fairly in-depth analysis of the current state of Japanese society is required to understand how this could have happened.
As for Prime Minister Abe’s political achievements, he has just passed away, and I believe that there are many aspects of his life that we can only wait for history to judge.
Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, former prime minister of Japan, understood that Japan’s prewar population growth caused poverty and that poverty and population pressure were major factors in World War II. Together with General Draper, the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense, and others, he worked to stabilize the world’s population problem and established the first bipartisan parliamentary group, the Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP), to address the issue of the population to achieve world peace.
Abe’s father, former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, was also involved in population politics, serving as the third president of the JPFP. Late Shinzo Abe himself attended a meeting of the International Parliamentarians Meeting on Population and Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1995, when he had just become a member of Parliament, held in conjunction with the World Summit on Social Development.
I was involved in that conference as the Japanese secretariat and worked with Mr. Abe for about a week. I was impressed by Mr. Abe’s cheerful personality and proactive thinking. Mr. Abe is well known for his loving wife, and I saw this in Copenhagen, which made me smile.
As I said at the beginning, we will have to wait for history to judge Mr. Abe’s political achievements. However, in my close contact with him and watching his actions, I felt that he had inherited the political philosophy of his grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, from his father, Shintaro Abe.
Japan was defeated in World War II and had to realize the reconstruction of its devastated land. One of those who took charge of this was my grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. For the politicians in charge of politics, the various political decisions of the time can only be said to be the result of the best decisions made under the conditions given at that time. It is the job of historians to weigh the pros and cons of such decisions, but I believe that Mr. Abe witnessed and understood the background of the political decisions that his grandfather and father were forced to make as they ran the country.
Seventy-seven years after its defeat in World War II, Japan has not yet escaped the effects of the war, as evidenced by the application of the UN’s “enemy clause. As a result, from the perspective of international common sense, I think there is room for debate as to whether Japan is in an adequate situation as a nation-state in the international community.
During his tenure as prime minister, Mr. Abe has focused on diplomacy. He actively engaged in what is known as “globe-trotting diplomacy,” traveling around the world and maintaining close contact with world leaders. Although Abe’s political beliefs were often described as right-wing, he also repeatedly communicated closely with the leaders of the former communist bloc.
What is clear from these actions of Mr. Abe is that he wanted to make termination of Japan’s postwar period situation. I understand that this is not a matter of left-wing and right-wing, and conservatism or liberalism, but rather a desire to remove the fetters of defeat and create a normal country.
I feel that he had a passionate desire to create a Japan that is respected by the world, as stipulated in the Constitution.
He lost his life at a very young age as a politician. I believe that he was a rare politician who was able to pursue his political ideals, including the environment in which he was blessed to grow up. I sincerely regret his death and pray for his soul.
Osamu Kusumoto, Ph.D Lecturer, Nihon University
Founder, Global Advisors for Sustainable Development (GAfSD)
IPS UN Bureau