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Cover Stories Series 2013> Japan's Pacifist Constitution at Risk> Archive
UPDATED: December 14, 2006 NO.40 OCT.5, 2006
Abe's Political Views

Abe discussed much about his views of politics and diplomacy in his election program, showing that he means to be a tough party president and prime minister.

First, on the issue of constitutional revision and collective self-defense right, Abe strongly advocates completely revising the Constitution to remove the limit that Japan can only exercise military power in self-defense. At the same time, by enacting a law, Japan would be able to send its self-defense forces overseas at any time. Abe claims that Japan should break away from the post-war system, and what he will do first during his term is to try to remove the obstacles to revising the Constitution. Regarding the Japanese-U.S. alliance, Abe holds that the role of the alliance should be improved and its mutually interactive feature needs to be ensured in order to change the awkward situation that U.S. troops are unilaterally stationed in Japan but Japanese self-defense forces cannot provide overall support to the U.S. military.

Second, on the issue of historical problems, Abe made an ambiguous comment on the meaning of Tomiichi Murayama's "August 15" speech, saying it was delivered on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II and thus has become something related to the past, and there is no need to express new views on the matter. On the issue of Yasukuni Shrine visits, Abe said he has always had a feeling of respect for those who fought for the country and would like to pray for them. He said that whether Japanese leaders should pay visits to the shrine or not should not reflect the will of other countries, and if Japan is misunderstood by other countries because of this, it should try to clear up the misunderstanding but not listen to others. Abe did not make clear remarks on whether he would pray at the Yasukuni Shrine as prime minister.

Third, on diplomatic issues, Abe advocates that the Tokyo-Washington alliance should continue to be strengthened. Apart from overall cooperation with the global strategy of the United States, Japan needs actively enhance its status in the international arena and quicken its move toward becoming a politically important country. In Asia, Abe holds that Japan should establish reliable relations with China and South Korea and try to resume talks between the leaders of Japan and the other two countries. With regard to North Korea, Japan should handle the abduction issue and the nuclear and missile problems in a tough manner, such as imposing economic sanctions. Based on some common values, Japan should push forward strategic dialogues with the United States, Europe, Australia and India, finally making Japan a country with important responsibility in the world.

Abe has made few comments on his views about the economy, education and other domestic issues in his election program. He is very likely to follow Koizumi's lead on these issues.

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