The Daily Manila Shimbun


Abe becomes 3rd-longest-serving leader in postwar Japan

May 28, 2017

Tokyo - Shinzo Abe became the third-longest-serving Japanese prime minister in post-World War II history on Sunday with 1,981 days in office including his first tenure between September 2006 and September 2007.
His stint as Japanese leader surpassed that of Junichiro Koizumi, who was in office between April 2001 and September 2006.
Koizumi utilized internal opposition within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to push through his policies, while Abe has been enacting polices by rallying support within the LDP, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference last week.
Suga made the comments when asked why Abe has been in power for such a long period of time. But Abe's actual strength comes from his ability to contain his potential rivals, sources familiar with the situation said.
Abe assigns his political rivals within the LDP to posts close to him to prevent them from becoming influential enough to threaten his status. Among them are Shigeru Ishiba, who was regional revitalization minister between September 2014 and August 2016, and Fumio Kishida, who has been foreign minister since December 2012.
Abe's current second term as LDP president expires in September next year. But thanks to his political maneuvering capability, strong public support and weak opposition parties, he will be able to stay in office until September 2021 if he wins another party leadership election.
The LDP recently extended the maximum tenure of office for a party president to three consecutive three-year terms, enabling Abe to run for a third term.
Since returning as prime minister in December 2012, Abe led the LDP to victory in all three national elections on a platform of pursuing economic growth.
If Abe remains in office, he will become the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history in November 2019, overtaking Taro Katsura, who was in office for a total of 2,886 days in the early 20th century.
But his recent proposal to revise the country's war-renouncing constitution carries the risk of Abe losing momentum. Constitutional revisions are expected to become a major issue in campaigning for a House of Representatives election set to take place by the end of next year and next year's House of Councillors election. (Jiji Press)