The post-war Japan that Shinzo Abe built

He sought to protect his country from 'the raging waves' of the 21st century. For that he needed a strong state.

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe died just as the Japanese people were possibly coming to appreciate his vision of a strong state. PHOTO: REUTERS
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(NYTIMES) - In January 2007, only a few months after he was elected, at 52, as Japan's youngest prime minister of the post-war era, Mr Shinzo Abe delivered a speech outlining his policy priorities after the opening ceremony of the 166th session of Japan's Diet, the country's parliamentary body. Most of the speech was a mundane laundry list of proposals, but one line proved especially revealing about the character of the man: "My mission is none other than to draw a new vision of a nation that can withstand the raging waves for the next 50 to 100 years."

I have regularly returned to this line - over the course of my writing about the former prime minister and as I reflected on his assassination on Friday - because it provided insight into what animated Mr Abe as a politician.

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