The former Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was killed on Friday. The death of Shinzo Abe stings like a personal loss for many countries.
News of Shinzo Abe’s passing is as startling as it is saddening for Indians who were aware of his stature and his significance in the larger Indo-Pacific.
It is an intelligence and security failure of unparalleled proportions that Japan’s tallest leader was shot in broad daylight with what looks to be a handmade shotgun.
One of the safest places on earth is Japan. Shooting against a former prime minister is thus foolish and out of the ordinary.
Violence Like This Has Not Been Witnessed in the Nation For Decades.
Japanese gun restrictions are strict, pistols and rifles are officially forbidden, and shooting deaths are quite uncommon. The yakuza crime syndicates are frequently linked to the sparse firearms crime.
Japanese politics have been free of bloodshed for more than 60 years, the majority of which the Liberal Democratic Party, to which Abe belongs, has held sway.
A socialist party leader was murdered by a sword-wielding assassin during violent street riots between the political left and right in Japan in the early 1960s over the country’s security pact with the United States.
Politicians eventually came to an agreement to conceal political conflict behind a peaceful façade.
According to Koichi Nakano, a political scientist at Sophia University in Tokyo, “by and large, I think you can say that the politics here have been built on the idea of nonviolence, and the differences might be passionate, but they have remained at the verbal level, so far.”
Tobias Harris, professor and author of the biography The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan, predicted that there would be real, universal mourning even among those who didn’t particularly agree with his political views. “I anticipate [his passing] will be more of an uniting than a contentious event,” the author said.
The Transformation of Japan Under Shinzo Abe
As prime minister, Shinzo Abe changed Japan as we know it. As a result of the destruction brought to Japan during World War II, the nation regarded pacifism, neutrality, and US-imposed nonviolence as constitutional requirements that had to be upheld under all circumstances. The only purpose of Japan’s security policy was defensive, to the point that the Japanese military earned the moniker “self-defense forces.”
By bolstering his own office, Shinzo Abe started revising Japan’s strategic view and readiness to handle challenges.
To establish a coordinated and coherent security strategy, the bureaucracy was reorganised, and the office of the Japanese Prime Minister was granted a national security council. Shinzo’s “Abenomics” is well-known all over the world.
The individual used a combination of structural changes, monetary easing, and fiscal stimulus to drive Japan off of an economic plateau. Abe implemented reforms in other areas as well as the economy.
The most significant of these major modifications to the nation’s intelligence organisations was Japan’s introduction of a quasi-official secret act to stop the flow of sensitive intelligence and intellectual property to rival nations like China.
Abe’s criminalization of espionage created a precedent that allowed Japan to take action against Chinese student spies, who had grown to be a threat to the nation. Yoshihide Suga, Shinzo Abe’s immediate successor, continued Shinzo Abe’s policies and tightened the noose on Chinese spies stealing Japanese military and intellectual property.
Under Shinzo Abe, discussions about Japan relinquishing its constitutional duty to refrain from declaring war on other nations and continuously adopting a defensive stance alone became commonplace.
Abe weakened Article 9 of the Japanese constitution by allowing the sending of soldiers to help the country’s allies abroad. This pivotal action signalled Japan’s shift from its long-standing pacifist stance.
The construction of Japan’s first aircraft carrier since World War II was also overseen by Abe. Shinzo Abe quickly increased defence expenditure for the first time in almost a decade after taking office in 2012, partly to better protect the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as its own and names Diaoyu.
Shinzo Abe also oversaw the formation of a specialised coastguard unit with three patrol boats, two helicopter carriers, and a 600-strong force to bolster Japan’s control over the Okinawa Prefecture and the East China Sea.
When his cabinet approved the purchase of two land-based Aegis Ashore missile defence systems in 2017, Abe provided the go-ahead for Japan to increase its ballistic missile defence capabilities.
Abe proposed the concept of Japan hosting American nuclear weapons in March of this year. That conversation was unprecedented, which reveals a lot about how Shinzo Abe saw Japan’s future.
It did not, however, come as a surprise to those who have followed the development of Japan’s policies over the previous ten years.
Shinzo Abe became one of the most vocal supporters of Taiwan, even going so far as to claim that Taiwan’s freedom and security were inextricably related to Japan’s security.
It became evident that Japan would not watch mutely if China went forward with an invasion of Taiwan after this position had attracted a lot of takers within Japan.
Shinzo Abe was the master of global strategy. He is without a doubt the one who jolted Japan out of its idealistic and illusory Lalaland and brought it back to the real world.
Abe will always be remembered as a legend who helped to create the Indo-Pacific strategy of the democratic nations and brought misery to China.
Past and Present Leaders Salute Abe
Leaders from all across the world have expressed sadness and indignation over Abe’s death in unison.
His death was a “tragedy for Japan and for everyone who knew him,” President Biden said, adding that he was “stunned, indignant, and terribly heartbroken.”
Also paying respects was former President Barack Obama, whose administration ran concurrently with Abe’s. I will never forget the work we performed to fortify our alliance and the emotional trip we took to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor together, according to Obama.
Gun Laws in Japan
In Japan, where there are 13 crore people, a person must pass a comprehensive series of examinations before they may buy a gun. Due to compliance, getting an assault rifle in the nation is considerably harder.
Japan reportedly has maintained severe gun control regulations for a long time, and each succeeding administration has just made them more stringent. According to reports, Japan was the first country in the world to enact gun control legislation.
Abe, who is frequently referred to be a leader of the right-wing nationalist movement, was the longest-serving Prime Minister of the nation from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2020. He left his position in 2020 due to health issues. From 2012 until 2020, he also presided over the Liberal Democratic Party.