Pragmatism or Nationalism: Shinzo Abe’s Challenge

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This article was contributed to “Japan Now”, an official e-newsletter by the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC on November 16, 2006.

A mix of apprehension and expectation greeted Shinzo Abe after he was elected to be the 90th prime minister of Japan on September 26. Abe’s performance in the first 45 days in his office, therefore, came as a great surprise. In fact, to the relief of many and disappointment to some, Abe so far has demonstrated a pragmatic streak when the situation calls for it. But real challenges await Abe in the coming months. Simply put, there are plenty of factors which can lure Abe away from his current pragmatism. How Abe fights this temptation will ultimately provide the true test of his leadership.

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