hamada59_STEPHANE DE SAKUTINAFP via Getty Images_abeart Stephane de Sakutin/AFP via Getty Images

Abe Shinzō, We Hardly Knew You

The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō a year ago has altered Japan’s political landscape. But it also gave the Japanese people a deeper appreciation for the country’s longest-serving prime minister, revealing aspects of his private life that were previously unknown.

NEW HAVEN – A year has passed since former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō was assassinated by a gunman during a campaign rally in Nara on July 8, 2022. Much like the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963, Abe’s murder marked a watershed moment in Japan’s history. And, as with Kennedy, unanswered questions about the circumstances of Abe’s death and the measures taken to save his life have permeated the country’s political discourse.

But Abe’s untimely death also gave the Japanese people a deeper insight into the mind of the country’s longest-serving prime minister, revealing aspects of his private life that were previously hidden from public view.

The “public” Abe devoted his political career to the economic benefit and security of the Japanese people. During his nine-year tenure as prime minister, he embarked on 81 international trips to improve diplomatic relations with countries near and far. But his dedicated service came at a personal cost, as he struggled with ulcerative colitis for much of his adult life. The debilitating effects of this illness twice forced him to step down from the premiership.

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