Japan’s Shinzo Abe Wednesday appointed new foreign and defence ministers and promoted a popular rising political star, in a cabinet reshuffle that fuelled speculation over the prime minister’s successor. The spectacular appointment as environment minister of the telegenic Shinjiro Koizumi, the 38-year-old son of much-loved former PM Junichiro, set tongues wagging in Tokyo political classes as the Abe era draws to a close. “Abe intends to start an open race to pick the next prime minister or even the one after that,” said SMBC Nikko Securities chief market economist Yoshimasa Maruyama. A darling of the Japanese media, Koizumi received blanket coverage for his recent marriage to television broadcaster Christel Takigawa, which was announced at the prime minister’s office. He is the third-youngest minister appointed to the cabinet in Japan since the end of World War II, in a country where seniority is prized in politics and many other walks of life. Despite intense media spotlight, he has been coy on expressing his view on the issues of the day and there will be close scrutiny over his policies on nuclear power, particularly on whether he will break with his father’s anti-nuclear stance. “I hope Mr Shinjiro Koizumi will tackle global issues such as ocean plastics and climate change not with worn-out approaches but with the new ideas of the young generation,” Abe said. “He is more seasoned than I was in my 10th year” (since being elected). I hope he will secure results,” said the prime minister. ‘New challenge’ Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said South Korea’s decision to cancel a deal to share military intelligence, mainly on North Korea, is damaging mutual trust and vowed Friday to work closely with the U.S. for regional peace. Abe also accused South Korea of not keeping past promises. The intelligence agreement started in 2016. “We will continue to closely coordinate with the U.S. to ensure regional peace and prosperity, as well as Japan’s security,” he said ahead of his departure for the Group of Seven summit of industrialized nations in France. South Korea announced Thursday it would terminate the intelligence deal because Tokyo’s decision to downgrade South Korea’s preferential trade status had caused a “grave” change in the security cooperation between the countries. Seoul says it will downgrade Tokyo’s trade status as well, a change that would take effect in September. Senior South Korean presidential official Kim Hyun-chong on Friday defended his government’s decision. He told reporters that “there is no longer any justification” for South Korea to continue the deal because of Japan’s claim that basic trust between the countries had been undermined. South Korea has accused Japan of weaponizing trade to punish it over a separate dispute linked to Japan’s brutal colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Japan denies any retaliation. Kim accused Japan of having ignored South Korea’s repeated calls for dialogue and other conciliatory steps to resolve the bitter trade and history disputes. He said Japan’s “breach of diplomatic etiquette” had undermined “our
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga echoed Shinzo Abe’s remarks: “We have been watching the situation surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU with great interest, and have asked both Britain and the EU to ensure that the negative impact, including of a no-deal exit, on Japanese companies and the global economy is kept to a minimum.”
President Donald Trump presented a special U.S.-made trophy to the winner of a sumo tournament Sunday as he got a taste of one of Japan’s most treasured cultural institutions. The honor given to Trump was part of a charm offensive by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he courted Trump with three things close to the American leader’s heart: wrestling, cheeseburgers and golf. Sumo diplomacy, to sum it up. The president, first lady Melania Trump, Abe and his wife, Akie, joined an estimated 11,500 fans at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium to watch massive and muscular men, in bare feet and loin cloths, battle for supremacy in a small ring of dirt. At the match’s end, Trump stepped into the ring and presented the eagle-topped “President’s Cup” to the champion, Asanoyama. Trump, the first American president to participate in such a ceremony, said later it was an “incredible evening.” “That was something to see these great athletes,” Trump said before having dinner with the Abes at a hibachi restaurant. Trump’s four-day state visit to Japan is designed to demonstrate the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance. Earlier Sunday, Abe warmly welcomed Trump to Mobara Country Club, south of Tokyo, for a round of golf, their fifth since Trump became president. Abe is trying to placate Trump amid growing U.S.-Japan trade tensions and the threat of auto tariffs. Japan also is contending with the continued military threat from North Korea , a concern seemingly heightened by Trump’s apparent dismissal of the North’s recent tests
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to bolster cooperation and friendship between Japan and China in a key policy speech Wednesday before making the first official trip to Beijing by a Japanese leader in seven years.
Abe said. “As we unflaggingly exchange summit diplomacy, I will also deepen the exchanges between the two peoples in all levels of activities from business cooperation to sports.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was re-elected as head of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party in a landslide Thursday, paving the way for up to three more years as the nation’s leader. Shinzo Abe said in a victory speech: “It’s time to tackle a constitutional revision. Now the fight is over. Let’s work together to make a new Japan.”