August 17, 2022


Engineer's Line

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was Assassinated Case Study.

11 min read

8th July 2022. Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated. It was a shocking incident on many counts. First of all, in a country like Japan, these are rare occurrences.

The rate of gun violence is so low there that Japan is among the Top 10 Most Peaceful Countries in the World. Secondly, such political assassinations in our world are very rare.

Especially in developed countries. The last time a political figure of this level was assassinated in a developed country was in Sweden in 1986. When the Swedish Prime Minister was assassinated. So obviously, when it happened in 2022, it was immensely shocking.

Shinzo Abe had close ties with India. Many Indians mourned his death. On the other hand, in countries like China and South Korea, some people celebrated his death.

Come, let’s understand this assassination. And Shinzo Abe’s legacy in today’s video. “Shocking news out of Japan, the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated. Gunned down during a campaign event.” “Mr Shinzo Abe is no longer with us.”

“This brutal and cowardly murder of Shinzo Abe shocks the whole world.” “I wish to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences.” “I’m going to be stopping to sign the Condolence Book at the Japanese Embassy on the way to the CIA.” “My sympathy and my thoughts…”

“Thoughts are with you and with the people of Japan today.” Shinzo Abe was the leader of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party. The elections were scheduled to be held in a few days. So he was campaigning for his political candidate. During which, he was assassinated.

At 11:30 in the morning, a gunshot was heard. The crowd gathered there was shocked at that. Shinzo’s security team was also present there. But they hadn’t put up any checks or barriers.

So the assassin could come quite close to Shinzo. And shot him from a distance of a few meters with his handmade gun. After firing, he didn’t even try to escape.

He was caught by the security officials, and now he is under police custody. His name is Tetsuya Yamagami. He is 41 years old. He had worked in the Japanese Navy, and perhaps the most bizarre thing is that he claims that the reason behind this assassination is not political;

he didn’t have any political motive. He’s not even a politically active person. According to Yamagami, he carried out this assassination because his mother went bankrupt because of large donations to a religious group. And this Japanese religious group was allegedly promoted by Shinzo Abe.

The assassin claims that he wanted to kill the leader of the religious group initially. But it wasn’t possible. So he targetted Shinzo Abe.

The Associated Press has reported that the assassin had no issues with the political ideologies of Shinzo Abe. This incident was condemned by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saying that such barbaric and malicious acts will not be tolerated at all.

And that it goes against the very foundation of democracy. On Japanese social media, the hashtag ‘We Want Democracy Not Violence’ was trending.

The leaders of other countries responded similarly. UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson had called it a despicable attack. US President Joe Biden had said that on 10th July, all US flags would be hoisted at half-staff. In honour of Shinzo Abe.

Although some Chinese nationalists and South Koreans were celebrating his assassination. But their politicians didn’t respond similarly. The South Korean President called the attack an ‘unacceptable act of crime.’ The Spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that this unaccepted incident should not be associated with the Chinese-Japanese relationship.

When he was asked about the response on Chinese social media, he did not comment. Historically, China and South Korea have quite a complicated relationship with Japan. Shinzo Abe is considered to be a leader who had an aggressive stance in terms of foreign policies.

Politically, what had Shinzo Abe done that people in China and South Korea despise him so much? I’ll talk about it in detail later in this video. But before that, let’s look at things from India’s perspective.

The ruling party as well as the opposition parties in India, have the same stance regarding Shinzo Abe. Almost every Indian has a positive image of him. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called him a Global Statesman, an Outstanding Leader, and a remarkable administrator.

And expressed condolences on his death. He had declared a National Mourning on 9th July. In Rashtrapati Bhawan, no change of guard ceremony was held on 9th July as a mark of respect.

Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi, and Arvind Kejriwal had responded similarly. He was praised for his part in strengthening the strategic relationship between India and Japan. Friends, the thing is that, the strong bilateral relationship between India and Japan, the foundation for it was laid when India’s Prime Minister was Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And Japan’s Prime Minister was Yoshiro Mori.

In August 2000, the then-Japanese Prime Minister came to India for a visit. And there the Global Partnership for the 21st Century was established. The next milestone was reached in April 2005, when the then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, came to India.

After that, Japan and India had bilateral summits every year. In December 2006, when our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh went to Japan, the relationship between India and Japan reached new heights. It morphed into a global and strategic partnership. Shinzo Abe became Japan’s Prime Minister in 2006. And in August 2007, when he came to India, he addressed the Indian Parliament and laid the foundation of the Quad Group.

Quad Group is basically a group for cooperation entered into by four countries. India, Japan, the USA, and Australia. I had made a detailed video on this, you can watch it if you want to. The link to it will be in the description below. Here, Shinzo Abe gave his famous speech: The Confluence of the Two Seas.

This speech is considered quite legendary. He asked, “Where exactly do we now stand historically and geographically?” And he answered this question with a quote from a book. A book written by Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh in 1655.

The Majma’-ul-Bahrain. Literally translating to the Confluence of the Two Seas. Here, he even mentioned the ties Subhash Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore had with Japan.

He laid out his vision with regard to India-Japan relations. He talked about how tolerance has been an inseparable part of India’s spiritual history. From Ashoka’s reign to Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Violent Satyagraha. He hoped that this tolerance would be the leading principle for the next century.

In September 2007, Shinzo resigned from the post of Prime Minister unexpectedly. Because of ailing health. He had Ulcerative Colitis. Then in 2012, he became the Prime Minister once again. Between 2012 to 2020, he visited India thrice. The first was in January 2014, when he became the first Japanese Prime Minister to be the Chief Guest on India’s Republic Day.

The close ties he had with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, he continued those relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In December 2015 and in September 2017, he came to India yet again. No other Japanese Prime Minister has come to India so many times.

In September 2014, the India-Japan relationship further went up a notch. A special strategic and global partnership. In this new relationship civilian nuclear energy, bullet trains, and Act East Policy was discussed. When Modi went to Japan in 2014, the Indo-Japan nuclear deal was still uncertain.

The Shinzo Abe government was successful in moving forward with this deal and in 2016, this agreement was signed. As per this agreement, both countries would cooperate for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In 2017, this agreement came into force. When the Chinese aggression on Indian borders were increasing in October 2017, during the Doklam issue, it was Shinzo Abe’s idea to revive the Quad Group.

It happened in November 2017 when the officials of India, Japan, the US, and Australia met in Manila, Philippines. In recent times, as you might already know, there have been several stand-offs on the India-China border. Since 2013, there have been four publicly known border standoffs. In April 2013, September 2014, June-August 2017, and in May 2020. Interestingly, under Shinzo Abe, the Japanese government had stood up with India during these standoffs.

In all these cases, Japan criticised China. Similarly, the overhyped Bullet Train project of the Modi government included India and Japan’s cooperation. To counter China’s influence, India and Japan have planned several joint projects in the Maldives and Sri Lanka. This is why in 2021, Shinzo Abe was bestowed with the Padma Vibhushan Award. India’s second-highest civilian award.

Now, let’s talk about Shinzo Abe’s political career. What was his legacy that makes him quite controversial in some countries. Shinzo Abe was a part of a vast political dynasty in Japan.

Several members of his family have remained in the top political positions in Japan for many years. Shinzo Abe’s maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit India.

In a column in an Indian newspaper, he wrote, that there used to be a time when Japan was not a developed country. During such times, Prime Minister Nehru, presented Prime Minister Kishi, as the Japanese Prime Minister to the people of his country.

And said that he respected him a lot. Friends, Nobusuke Kishi had actually played an immensely important role in the foundation of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1955.

The political party Shinzo Abe belonged to. Since then, this political party has been in power in Japan for most of the time. Except for 2 small periods. Shinzo’s great uncle, Nobusuke’s brother, Eisaku Sato, was also a Japanese Prime Minister. In addition to them, Shinzo’s paternal grandfather, Abe Kan, was an elected member of the House of Representatives. Shinzo’s father, Abe Shintaro, was the Foreign Minister of Japan for a while. As I told you, several members of the family have been in power in politics.

It’s a vast dynasty. But the two people on whom we need to focus the most are the two grandfathers. Because even though they are related, their ideologies were vastly different.

One ideology of a hawk, an aggressive stance, and the other of peace, of the dove. The symbol of peace was Shinzo’s paternal grandfather, Kan Abe. He opposed the militarist government.

He was actively campaigning to prevent Japan’s involvement in World War II. There was a clear reason for that. Because had Japan not participated in the war, then the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour would have been avoided. And the American government’s response to it, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, could have been prevented.

The 2.5 million Japanese who lost their lives in the war, could have been saved. Here, if you’d like to know more about World War II, I’d suggest that you listen to the audiobook on WWII on KUKU FM. It has all the details. In case you don’t know, KUKU FM is a brilliant platform for audio learning, on which you can listen to many such audiobooks.

Normally, it costs ₹399 per year, but if you used the coupon code DHRUV50, you will get 50% off. So the annual cost of KUKU FM for you would be only ₹199. To access their entire library. The link to it is in the description below. You can go check it out.

Let’s get back to the topic. On the other hand, Shinzo’s maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was serving under the Japanese Emperor Showa.

He was known for his ruthless rule. Kishi was nicknamed the Monster of the Showa Era. Later, on 7th December 1941, he had signed the Declaration of War and thus announced the war against America.

As we know now, Japan lost in World War II, And the leaders of the US, China, and the UK, met in Germany on 26th July 1945, to discuss the terms of surrender for Japan. On 2nd September, Japan surrendered unconditionally. And the conditions laid across by the other countries, of bringing democratic reforms in the country, were accepted. Japan’s Constitution was rewritten. Article 9 of this Constitution, was very important.

According to it, the Japanese people would aspire for international peace always. They forever renounce war, as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

Going into a war would not be Japan’s way to resolve any issue. So, the land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential will never be maintained. So the question arises, Which path did Shinzo Abe take? His paternal grandfather or maternal? The answer to this: his maternal grandfather’s.

He rarely mentions Kan Abe. But Kishi’s militarist attitude, was something he talked about with pride. Even on record, he said Shinzo Abe had actually tried really hard to amend the Japanese Constitution to remove Article 9. His stance was aggressive and in favour of the military.

Before him, several Japanese Prime Ministers, have apologised to other countries because of the war crimes committed by Japan during World War II in several countries.

But Shinzo Abe’s stance had been quite the opposite, either he forwent mentioning Japanese horrors, or tried to negate them. To refute their existence. It is estimated that during World War II about 200,000 Asian women were kidnapped, confined, and treated as slaves, for the Japanese soldiers in ‘comfort stations’. In 2015, Shinzo had to face criticism, because he tried to downplay the issue of ‘comfort women’. Another major controversy in his political career was in 2007,

when several corruption allegations were made against him. His government was criticised for nearly 50 million missing pension records. Apart from these, Japan is trying to sue South Korea at the World Trade Organisation because South Korea has placed a ban on Japanese imports.

The reason behind this ban was the 2015 nuclear disaster in Fukushima. The South Korean government doesn’t want the radioactive, contaminated food, gets imported from Japan to South Korea. But Japan considers it to be unfair and so they are suing South Korea.

So you can now understand why the South Koreans are against Japan. The issue of comfort women that I mentioned, from where were those women kidnapped? From countries like South Korea and China. So the Chinese and South Korean people have a strong opinion about this.

But despite these events, Shinzo Abe could build his image as a successful politician. A significant reason for it was Abenomics. Basically, Shinzo Abe’s economic policies. When he came into power the second time, in 2012, over the past five preceding years, 2007-2012, Japan was losing its position as Asia’s largest economy. India and China had overtaken Japan.

To revive his country’s economy, he took drastic measures in his second term, which are now known as Abenomics. There were three major strategies. First: Ultra-low interest rates. Making it easier for everyone to get loans. Second: increasing government spending.

Billions of dollars were spent on enormous infrastructure projects, and on giving cash hand-outs to people. Third: making structural economic reforms to boost productivity. Such as reducing red tape, and encouraging women to participate in the economy.

Encouraging senior citizens to work as well. So that it could boost the economy.

These decisions resulted in irrefutable economic growth and a decrease in the unemployment rate. Though the Abenomics weren’t successful on all counts. They didn’t get strong control over inflation and wage growth. Even so, it is still considered a more or less successful strategy.

His efforts to revive the economy are acknowledged.

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