The Abe Dilemmas

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo recently caused a stir by visiting the Yasukuni shrine, which commemorates those who have lost their lives in service to Japan, including 14 Class-A war criminals. In this issue of Canada-Asia Agenda, former Canadian Ambassador to both China and Japan, Joseph Caron, assesses Japan’s foreign policy under Abe. He argues that the act of simply visiting the shrine conveys to a domestic audience a broad range of Abe’s policy orientations. He concludes that although Abe may be a nationalist, he will have to be more sensitive to Japan’s neighbours’ view of their long shared history in order to maintain the delicate balance of power and relationships in the region.

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