Abe's legacy: An appreciation

In life and in death, Shinzo Abe attracted controversy, today’s state funeral being no exception. To focus on that is to ignore the legacy of the most consequential post-war Japanese prime minister, one whose vision and actions set a new direction for his country’s foreign policy.

Mr Shinzo Abe was the most consequential post-war Japanese prime minister whose legacy is a new direction for Japanese foreign policy. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Shinzo Abe's second term as prime minister (2012-2020) marked the final break with the Yoshida Doctrine that had for far too long limited Japanese foreign, security and defence policies.

Named after Mr Shigeru Yoshida, the prime minister from 1948 to 1954, the doctrine was premised on relying almost entirely on the United States for security, while focusing on economic growth and relying on a very narrow interpretation of collective self-defence under the pacifist Constitution to fend off calls for Japan to take on wider responsibilities for regional or international security.

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