As prime minister, Shinzo Abe desperately wanted to end Japan’s constitutional commitment to pacifism and make it a military power again. In death he may very well do just that.
Stunned by the killing of Mr Abe while campaigning in Nara on Friday, the country’s Tories are now predicting an even bigger margin of victory for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Sunday’s upper house election of the Diet. This could allow them to revise the constitution which they believe was imposed by vengeful Allies at the end of World War II.
“I believe the LDP will now do better than expected and I hope what happened today will also galvanize those who will win over Mr. Abe’s death to follow through on his strongest policies. important,” said Yoichi Shimada, a professor of international relations at Fukui Prefectural University and a personal friend of Abe.
Mr Abe’s political leanings are a legacy of his upbringing. His grandfather was Nobusuke Kishi, the economic master of occupied China and Manchukuo, the puppet state set up in northeast China by Tokyo in the years before World War II. During the conflict, he served as Deputy Minister of Ammunition under Prime Minister Hideki Tojo.
With the defeat of Japan, he was detained as a suspected Class A war criminal for his role in the war, but escaped prosecution and helped set up the LDP in 1955. Kishi served as Prime Minister of 1957 to 1960.