Shinzō Abe, arguably Japan’s most important politician since the end of World War II, was gunned down on Friday. No one else served as Prime Minister for such a long time – in 2006/2007, then again from 2012 to 2020. His first term ended quickly and unsuccessfully, a brief episode in a period of political instability in Japan, when no Prime Minister managed to stay in office for more than 16 months. It was not until Abe took office for the second time in 2012 that his real political impact began. He was to have a greater impact on Japan than any other politician since World War II – particularly internationally. And especially Japan’s relationship with its great rival China.
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