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July 08, 2022

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Cynical me says: that's probably one of Japan's old traditions Abe did NOT intend to revive.

Googling for the classical term 'government by assassination' yields several hits for the current event while (as expected) most point to the infamous period in Japanese history almost a century ago.

What was Abe's political staning/status/power in Japan these days?

According to C4 news just now, the perpetrator (who is apparently a member of Japan's peacetime version of the Navy) has said that his motive was not "politics", but because of Abe's membership of "an organisation". This organisation is so far unspecified, and they said may or may not even exist. This seems to me to point towards psychosis. Is this what is being reported in Japan, lj? And if so, are there any more details?

It seems that he was in the Marine SDF, but is not longer a member, though I don't think they've given more details.

Assassination (ansatsu/暗殺) seems to be a historical term, all the news reports term it a shooting incident.

Abe had stepped down, but was very much involved as a powerbroker. He was head of the largest LDP faction, the Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyu-kai
https://www.tokyoreview.net/2022/01/the-evolution-of-ldp-factions/

There were a number of articles recently about friction between Abe and Kishida in terms of increasing the defense budget and Abe had often expressed the desire that Japan become a 'normal' country and Kishida has been described as to the left of Abe. Following Hartmut's cynical observation, it seems like Japan is getting closer to 'normality'.

As for the "specific organization", that came from the police briefing, but nothing else and the news will probably not publicize it. One possibility is Nippon Kaigi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nippon_Kaigi

But there was also a scandal involving Abe related to a private school, Moritomo Gakuen
https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14176077
and a civil servant involved with the documentation committed suicide
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200829/p2a/00m/0na/020000c

Abe resigned, and the scandal became an issue in the LDP election that elevated the current PM, Kishida
https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/09/2b32b37a05b1-ldps-noda-calls-for-reinvestigation-of-document-tampering-scandal.html

I'm sure we won't get a good explanation of the specific organization and it will be reported in a way to show the suspect is a few sushi rolls short of a full meal. There will be powerful pressure to paint this as something totally baffling that could not have been predicted in a million years.

Very interesting, lj, thank you!

Another rumor that’s floating around is that Abe had given some speeches/kind words/political fluff to the Unification church (i.e. the Moonies). They are very anti North Korea, so it may have seemed harmless enough, though again, the US has people thinking a pizza parlor is a pedophilia center. One also has to factor in the fact that there are a lot of folks trying to equate Abe’s stance on that as the reason he was killed.

More chatter and a mention in the media, about the Unification Church being the target, so I've been reading up on the history of the UC. Founded by Sun Myung Moon who was told by God that Jesus wasn't supposed to die, but was supposed to marry and have children, so he was going to pick up the torch. This makes the mass weddings that the church is famous for a bit more understandable. It interests me because most Korean evangelical christianity is based on the Prosperity Gospel that was brought over from the states, so it mirrors the mega-churches in the states (The world's largest church is and evangelical one in Seoul, the Yoido Full Gospel Church
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoido_Full_Gospel_Church )

This is an interesting NPR piece about the church in the US.

Here in Japan, there have been accusation of pyramid schemes to raise money. Apparently, the Japanese church has provided most of the funds for the church on the notion of historical repair for the history of Korean-Japanese relations. My feeling is that Abe delivered messages of support for the church in large part because of their firm right wing credentials. This twitter thread
https://twitter.com/mrjeffu/status/1545540259626483713?s=21&t=ox15jiAMRbrnHNLGPhn68Q

has a lot more details.

Thanks lj

I have seen videos from those Korean megachurches. Looks even worse than in the US. Preachers exhorting their flock to vie with their brethren in spririt for better placement in heaven ("You want to have a place in the front row of the heavenly choir not one further behind!"). Nauseating! (but not without precedent. Some medieval clerics had similar ideas.)

Sorry, didn't include the npr link
https://www.npr.org/2010/02/17/123805954/unification-church-woos-a-second-generation

A few other links.
This Spectator link was good at bringing up some points that probably won't get put into other reports
https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/shinzo-abe-and-the-long-history-of-japanese-political-violence

This is from a kiyo, a Japanese uni in-house journal, so it has some editing oversights, but some of the discussion of the UC in Japan is really interesting.
https://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/handle/2115/47996

Reports are that the LDP will win the elections by a comfortable margin. People wonder if Kishida will take the opportunity to push Abe's project of making Japan a 'normal' nation (i.e. one that can project force and wage war), though there was talk that Kishida was being undercut by Abe, so I don't think it is a given. Kishida has been talking about a new type of capitalism
https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/d00804/

The question is was he constrained to not crap on Abenomics too much and will Abe's death give him the space to move? I feel that Kishida is more looking toward the economy, and Abe was pushing an increased defense budget. This article was from the beginning of June and you can see the pressure that Abe was putting on Kishida.

There's a Youngnak Presbyterian Church, Youngnak Presbyterian Church of Dallas, a few blocks from where I live. I'm guessing they're the Korean version of the more mainstream, traditional Christian religion.

The question is was he constrained to not crap on Abenomics too much and will Abe's death give him the space to move?

IF (a big if!) the Japanese political scene is anything like the American one, the answer is probably:
- in the short term, no.
- in the long term, probably yes. Albeit while claiming not to be moving at all.

Forgot to include the link, but it is behind a paywall
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/07/06/national/kishida-abe-defense-budget-skirmish

so a quick summary, before Abe's death, Kishida removed an Abe supporter in the Defense Ministry, surprising a lot of observers. Also to note, Kishida is the head of one faction that is relatively dovish, Abe's faction was really pushing an increase in the defense budget hard. For more about this rather opaque aspect of Japanese politics, read here
https://www.tokyoreview.net/2022/01/the-evolution-of-ldp-factions/

Before Abe's death, Kishida was quite active with his faction, despite a general understanding that when someone becomes PM, they step back from their faction. Going off of the positions of the factions, Abe's faction (Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyu-kai) was quite far to the right while Kishida's faction (Kōchikai) is much more moderate. Kishida was highlighted in the news as saying that he would follow up on two of Abe's projects, dealing with North Korean abductees and revision of the constitution. However, it is important to remember that saying 'I will do my best' is a way Japanese often say 'no way'...

https://www.nytimes.com/1988/03/27/world/some-japanese-one-urge-plain-speaking.html

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