Written byNewsBytes Staff ·
In 2006, at age 52, Shinzo Abe became Japan's youngest prime minister since World War-II.
Today, he won a decisive victory in the lower house of parliament making him Japan's longest-serving post-war leader.
His victory vindicates his conservative Abenomics, hawkish foreign policy and historic attempt at revising Japan's pacifist constitution.
But who is Abe? How did he get where he is? We explain.
Abe was born in Yamaguchi on September 21, 1954. His grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was prime minister from 1957-60.
His father, Shintaro Abe, served as foreign minister from 1982-86.
Abe graduated from Japan's Seikei University and later studied political science at University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
He worked at Kōbe Steel, Ltd. in 1979, before joining politics. He married Akie Matsuzaki in 1987.
Abe became active in the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) and started working as a secretary to his father, Abe Shintaro, in 1982.
In 1993, he was elected to the lower house of the parliament and subsequently held several government positions. In 2003, he became the LDP's secretary general.
He became PM briefly from 2006-07.
He again became PM in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014.
The Abenomics economic plan is based on three arrows:
1) Having a hyper-easy monetary policy characterized by short-term interest rates to incentivize borrowing and spending.
2) Increasing fiscal stimulus by boosting government spending on infrastructure and other areas.
3) Introducing structural reforms which include corporate reforms, liberalization of labor, and adding more women and migrants into the workforce.
Many of Abenomics' pillars remain unfulfilled.
Abe has long been a proponent of closer India-Japan economic and defense ties crucial to counter the mutual insecurities from China's emerging power.
He has forged a close personal relationship with PM Modi, which has been instrumental in bringing India and Japan together.
He has pushed for greater Japanese involvement in India's much-needed infrastructure development, which includes the recently flagged Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.
Abe has vehemently backed the controversial plan to revise the Article 9 pacifism clause in Japanese Constitution.
The clause forbids Japan from maintaining military and from using force to settle international disputes unless in self-defense.
This is to keep with his hawkish stance on countering emerging North Korean and Chinese threats.
In 2015, parliament enacted laws allowing Japan to aid allies under attack.
Abe has taken a tougher stance on North Korea, which regularly threatens Japan with its nuclear and missile tests.
He hasn't shied away from adopting a more confrontational policy against China, with whom Japan is locked in a simmering territorial dispute in the East China Sea.
Abe has called for Japan to play a more equal role with its US ally in regional security.
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