A Career Timeline of Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe | National Policy


TOKYO (AP) – Born into a prominent political family, Shinzo Abe, who was shot dead at a Friday campaign event in western Japan, had been the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

Although credited with bringing a degree of stability to Japan after a period of economic malaise and constant turnover among leaders, Abe has drawn the ire of neighbors South Korea and China – as well as many Japanese – with its nationalist rhetoric and calls to revise the country’s pacifist constitution.

Here’s a look at some key dates in Abe’s life and career.

September 21, 1954: Abe was born in Tokyo, the son of Shintaro Abe, who served as Japan’s foreign minister, and grandson of Nobusuke Kishi, former prime minister.

1977: Graduated from Seikei University in Tokyo with a degree in political science, after which he moved to the United States to study public policy at the University of Southern California for three semesters.

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1979: Starts working at Kobe Steel as the company expands its presence overseas.

1982: Leaves the company to take up new positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

1993: First elected as a LDP legislator representing Southwestern Yamaguchi Prefecture. Abe, already considered a conservative, joined and eventually led the party’s largest faction, Seiwakai, once led by his father, who died in 1991.

2005: Abe is appointed Chief Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, during which he leads negotiations to return abducted Japanese citizens to North Korea. The same year, he was elected head of the PLD, putting him in the running to take over as Prime Minister.

September 26, 2006: Abe becomes Prime Minister of Japan for the first time, overseeing economic reforms while taking a hard line on North Korea and seeking engagement with South Korea and China.

2007: Following electoral defeats that saw the LDP lose control of the legislature for the first time in 52 years, Abe resigns as Prime Minister, citing health reasons. Abe suffered from ulcerative colitis but managed to control it with medication.

2012: After being elected LDP President again, Abe becomes Prime Minister for the second time.

2013: Seeking to stimulate growth, Abe launches his “Abenomics” policies with easy loans and structural reforms. Japan’s relations with China are going through a particularly tough time but are beginning to improve after Abe met Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in Beijing.

2014-2020: Re-elected leader of the LDP, served two additional terms as prime minister for a total of four, during which he developed a close relationship with then-President Donald Trump, holding summits and playing football golf together.

August 28, 2020: Announces that he will step down as Prime Minister, again citing health reasons, after his ulcerative colitis reappeared. By then, Abe had already become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.

2021: Despite leaving office, Abe shows he can still piss off Beijing with comments about Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as its own territory and threatens to attack. In a speech, Abe warned that “military adventure would lead to economic suicide”.

July 8, 2022: Abe is shot and killed while delivering a speech at a campaign event in the city of Nara. Police are arresting a male suspect but no motive was immediately known.

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