Japan must strive to recover from deep national loss

How great was the mark the former prime minister left on the international community? The condolences for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed by world leaders illustrate such a fact.

Following Abe’s death from gunfire, U.S. President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to offer his condolences.

Commenting on the late prime minister, Biden said, “Former Prime Minister Abe led the international community as an outstanding leader,” and the president praised the “free and open Indo-Pacific” initiative and establishment of the Quad framework of Japan, the United States, Australia and India, both advocated by Abe, as his “enduring legacy.”

It is quite unusual for the United States to adopt two concepts proposed by Japan in light of the emergence of China. It is certainly true that Abe had excellent diplomatic skills as he could analyze regional situations and devise such initiatives.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “His global leadership … will be remembered by many.” French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized, “Japan has lost a great prime minister, who worked to ensure order in the world.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and wrote in a Twitter post, “A one-day national mourning shall be observed.”

It must not be forgotten that Abe’s ability to communicate and negotiate was not only due to his competence, but also at the same time because he was bolstered by his position as the leader of Japan, a peaceful and secure economic power. One of the pillars of this circumstance, the “myth of safety,” has collapsed.

Many countries have voiced their surprise that such an incident could occur in Japan. With the latest incident, Japan has lost both an important leader and its image as a safe country. It is a dual national loss.

The government has to take this fact seriously and do its utmost to ensure safety in the nation. It is essential to rebuild an economy that has been sluggish and to strengthen Japan’s international contributions to raise the level of the country’s national strength.

There is also an urgent need to identify the security problems that allowed the suspect to shoot Abe. The chief of the Nara prefectural police headquarters held a press conference on Saturday and admitted flaws in the security system at the time, stating, “It is a matter of deepest regrets.” He said the police will examine issues henceforth.

The law enforcement authorities must take all possible measures to prevent a recurrence of such a situation.

The House of Councillors election is being held today. The direct questions being asked in the election include specific measures to combat high prices and to raise wages, as well as how to secure a stable power supply.

However, the fact that democracy was challenged in this election is serious. Each voter must cast their precious vote with consideration given to the importance of governing through democratic means.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 10, 2022)