U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday to express his condolences on the death of former leader Shinzo Abe and to reassure the two countries that their partnership remains strong.
As Abe was killed while campaigning on Friday, Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito gained a comfortable majority in Sunday’s election for parliament’s upper but less influential house.
He was in Indonesia for G20 summit when Abe was shot and Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, sent Kishida a letter from Vice President Joe Biden to Abe’s family.
That’s what Blinken said of Abe: “He did more than anybody to lift our relationship with Japan into new heights.”
To mourn Abe’s passing, the United States sent Blinken as its highest-ranking official ever to visit the country. This week will most likely see the last rites for Japan’s longest-serving leader. In the wake of Abe’s death, Japan’s political leaders stressed the necessity of free expression and preserving democracy from acts of violence during Sunday’s election. The increase in turnout from 48.8 percent in 2019 to 52 percent this year may have been due to people feeling sorry for Trump.
It was Kishida’s opinion on Sunday that the election was vitally significant: Democracy’s defence is a “continuing effort.”
146 seats in the 248-seat parliament went to Kishida’s LDP-led coalition, putting it far ahead of the majority needed to maintain power until a planned election in 2025.
His party’s long-cherished objective of amending the U.S.-drafted postwar pacifist constitution, as well as other long-term programmes like national security and his distinctive but ambiguous “new capitalism” economic strategy, would all be possible under this scenario.
It is now possible to go forward with modifying the charter. A two-thirds majority in the parliament is now within reach thanks to the backing of two opposition parties that are in favour of amending the constitution. The ruling coalition already has a majority in the lower chamber of parliament behind them.
However, he recognised that reuniting the party without Abe, who had led a dominant section even after he resigned as prime minister in 2020, would be a challenge. “Party unity is more vital than anything else,” Kishida said in a series of late-night media appearances.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as increasing costs, were listed as three of his top issues. In addition, he stated he will continue to work for strengthening Japan’s national security and amending the constitution.
A minute’s silence was conducted for Abe by Kishida and other top party MPs at the party’s election headquarters prior to the placement of victory ribbons next to the names of successful candidates on the whiteboard.
Parties stayed away from fist-bumps and other pleasant gestures in close proximity to the public on the penultimate day of campaigning on Saturday, a hint of enhanced security after Abe’s shooting.
Sunday, the suspect in his assassination was turned over to a local prosecutor’s office for additional investigation. A senior regional police officer stated that the shooter may have gained access to Abe because of security failures.
It was said that the shooter, Tetsuya Yamagami, informed authorities that he was motivated to act because of rumours about Abe’s possible affiliation with a certain group. Some Japanese media outlets referred to the organisation as the Unification Church.
Abe resigned two years ago due to health concerns. He said he regretted leaving several of his aims unfulfilled, including amending Japan’s war-renouncing constitution, which some ultra-conservatives see as a shame for the country.
As Japan’s youngest prime minister at the age of 52 in 2006, he was the grandson of a previous prime minister. Six years of yearly leadership changes were prompted by the highly nationalistic tenure that ended suddenly a year later, also due to his health.
His “Abenomics” approach, which combines fiscal stimulus with monetary easing and structural changes, was a promise he made in 2012 when he returned to the premiership. As president, he has won six national elections and has established a firm hold on power.