Special Forum

 On November 20, 2019, Abe Shinzo became the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history, at 2,887 days, surpassing the previous record held by Katsura Tarō in the early 1900s. If Abe serves out his current third three-year term, he will be in office until September 2021. Inclusive of his one-year tenure in 2006-2007, he will have served as prime minister for 10 years. This is a remarkable achievement, especially considering that during the eight years of the Clinton administration (1993-2001), Japan had seven prime ministers (Miyazawa Kiichi, Hosokawa Morihiro, Hata Tsutomu, Murayama Tomiichi, Hashimoto Ryutaro, Obuchi Keizo, and Mori Yoshiro), and during the six years between Koizumi Junichiro’s departure as prime minister in 2006 and Abe’s return as prime minister in 2012, Japan had a procession of one prime minister per year (Abe, Fukuda Yasuo, Aso Taro, Hatoyama Yukio, Kan Naoto, and Noda Yoshihiko). Abe’s unusually long tenure in office, the nature of his prime ministership, and the international environment surrounding Japan in the 2010s have all contributed to changes in how international relations in Asia are viewed.

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