Russia’s President Meets with Japanese Prime Minister in Sochi

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Abe Supporters see in him a man hatched by plan to revise the post-war order.

Russia's President Meets with Japanese Prime Minister in Sochi

© AP Photo/ Mikhail Klimentyev

Written by Anatolii Ivanko; Originally appeared at VPK, translated by Theo N. Kaufman exclusively for SouthFront

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conducted a working meeting in Sochi. Earlier it was reported that during the talks they planned to discuss the state and prospects of bilateral cooperation in trade-economic and humanitarian fields, and to exchange views on important international issues.

An historical first timer, when Abe, managed to not only become the youngest Prime Minister of Japan, but also to take occupy this position twice.

He was born on September 21, 1954 in Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and soon moved to Tokyo. He grew up surrounded by first class politicians. His maternal grandfather was once the prime minister of Japan, and his father – was foreign minister from 1982-1986, respectively, and led the government, before his unexpected death.

Shintaro Abe, in turn, was the adopted son of Nobusuke Kishi (1896-1987), who served during the war, the Minister of Trade and Industry and who was responsible for the economy of the puppet state of Manchukuo. At the beginning of the American occupation, Kishi was arrested among other war criminals. He was charged with forced slave labor of tens of thousands of Chinese, many of whom were killed. However, in December 1948, he, along with 19 other defendants, was released from prison, “for lack of evidence.” Subsequently, Kishi had a distinguished political career, becoming prime minister ( in 1957-1960).

In 1977, Abe graduated from Seykey University, where he studied political science, and then he departed for the United States. But his studies at the University of Southern California, he eventually gave up and returned home and went to work in the steel company Kobe Steel.

Abe’s political ascent began in 1982. He replaced several governors. On 20 September 2006, he was elected chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The parliament approved Abe as prime minister on 26 September, 2006. At, 52 years, he became the youngest head of government in the history of Japan. But after a series of corruption scandals in the cabinet headed by him he already resigned on 12 September, 2007.

Heading lead the LDPJ fraction, he was able to convince the party members of the vitality of their initiatives to get the country out of the impasse of corruption, which allowed the Liberal Democrats to regain leadership of Japan in their hands, when the position of the ruling Democratic Party was shaken. By the beginning of LDPJ, Abe won early parliamentary elections by a landslide victory, receiving twice as many seats in the House of Representatives, compared with the result of the previous campaign. It was possible to form a new cabinet.

On 26 September, 2012 Shinzo Abe became head of LDPJ, and on 26 December of the same year, he was appointed prime minister. This victory of the party dispelled the myth of Shinzo Abe as a politician with a lack of administrative experience and not having the necessary authority to achieve its goals. The leading Japanese newspaper “Sankei Shimbun” wrote then: “The Liberal Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won a landslide victory in the elections in the upper house, thus we can expect that the Abe government will remain in charge for a long term”.

The leader of the country took up the revival of a stagnant economy, using a few unusual policies, which received its own name – abenomics.

Then he announced the five-year plan of military expansion. The “preventive pacifism” was designed to make Japan a “normal” country, capable of defending itself.

For some too discharge regional tensions provoked by Pyongyang, Abe verbally rejected the idea of Japan’s transformation into a nuclear power. However, he was in favor of building up military might of the country, including – for the revision of the “pacifist” constitution of 1947, as well as for further rapprochement with the US military might – and nuclear.
Abe’s idea of “denial of justice provisions of the Tokyo Tribunal” in 1948, would become a new trend in the historical revisionism of the younger generation. Stressing respect to inverse the country’s history and heroism of its soldiers, though their deeds very often side by side with the crimes in the occupied territories, Abe regularly (though secretly) visits the Yasukuni Shrine, where they believe Shinto, the souls of the Japanese soldiers rest, ignoring Chinese and South Korean protest. The fact that the neighbors of Japan consider themselves to be victims of its aggression and accept visiting Yasukuni officialy as an attempt of whitewash by Tokyo of its World War II crimes.

Japanese Prime Minister himself does not think so. According to sources from his entourage, in conversations he has repeatedly stated that “Japan was dragged into the war” that this war actually was not bad, but just in order to “liberate Asian countries from the imperialist yoke of the West”.

Abe Supporters see in him a man that has hatched concrete plans “imposed by the US to review the post-war order” degrading of Japan. Opponents consider this particular ideology and the desire to “restore its independence in the international arena” as a threat to slide into nationalism and neo- militarization. At the same time Abe does not cease to repeat, “the Japan-US alliance is the main guarantor of security in the country”.

Noteworthy reasoning expert on domestic and foreign policy, Professor Takashi Tachibana, who acts with criticism of the course, held by the Prime Minister. Japan may be able to use the US nuclear weapons on its territory, according to the scientist, stipulating that the reason, most likely, will be the confluence of tragic circumstances. A first timer in its nature, believes Tachibana, and does wish to change the military alliance with the United States. We are talking about the introduction of a provision allowing the deployment of US nuclear weapons on the territory of Japan, with the proviso that Tokyo will have the right to give orders about its use. The current policy of the Government to Professor Abe reminds us of the 30s of the last century, when a number of erroneous decisions of the government led the country into war. Scientists warn that if the constitution will be revised, Japan which had the right to “collective self-defense”, which so wished the prime minister, could draw it in any war that the United States can initiate.

In January of this year, the Japanese prime minister has promised voters before the expiry of his term of office, ie, until 2018, to achieve substantial progress in the Kuril issue. He said Tokyo hopes to fulfill a long-standing desire of the Japanese, “as long as the original inhabitants of the islands are healthy.” Abe outlined his position on this issue as follows: “In order to resolve the territorial dispute, the conclusion of a peace treaty, we will step by step to strengthen relations in a wide range of areas such as the economy, energy and culture. We will look for any opportunity for building a dialogue with Russia. ” The first step in this direction was the establishment of the post of special representative for relations with Russia. On a post appointed former ambassador to Moscow Tikahito Harada. Japanese experts believe that this person will be able to establish relations, strongly spoiled participation in the anti-Russian sanctions and support Poroshenko regime in Ukraine. Although it is an open secret: both done with the flow and pressure, “the Washington Regional Committee”.

However, at a meeting with Poroshenko on duty promised to “initiate a discussion on Ukraine during the summit of the Group of Seven”, where Abe is presiding, the Japanese Prime Minister has shown that he is not less interesting cooperation with Russia in the UN Security Council in response to the nuclear test North Korea and Moscow view to resolve the Middle East problem. And, of course, at the forefront is the notorious “Kuril problem”, which is much more important for Tokyo “Ukrainian”.

Is Japan a leader be able to negotiate with the Russian president about something specific? Hardly. But this is the case, when the meeting is useful in itself, and is beneficial to both parties irrespective of the outcome.

Anatolii Ivanko, is director of the Center for Analysis of geopolitics, wars and military history

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