Shinzo abe

Another grim reminder of Japan’s violent politics

Has Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida just survived an assassination attempt? Kishida was evacuated from the site of a stump speech in the fishing port of Sakizaki in Wakayama western Japan after what appeared to be a pipe bomb was thrown in his direction. No one was injured but people fled in terror after the attack, which occurred at around 11:25 AM shortly before the PM was due to speak. A man was wrestled to the ground clearly holding a cylindrical metal object identical to the one thrown at Kishida before being arrested and taken away.  That’s as much as we know for now. It is not clear yet whether the ‘explosive’ was capable of killing anyone. From dramatic footage of the incident a loud

Is Japan doomed?

Japan is heading for trouble, the country’s prime minster Fumio Kishida has suggested. ‘Our country is on the brink of being unable to maintain the functions of society,’ he said in a speech earlier this week. Japan’s birth rate, the average number of children a woman will have, is too low, and still falling. It’s 1.3, and needs to be 2.1 to keep the population stable. With every year that passes, there are hundreds of thousands fewer Japanese people.  Economics is mostly to blame. Once, there was a secure and predictable life was for the average Japanese person. The men would toil away at a big company in return for the assurance of

The anger behind Shinzo Abe’s state funeral

Tokyo While not quite on the scale of Her Majesty’s service, Tuesday’s state funeral of Japan’s longest serving PM Shinzo Abe, gunned down while campaigning on the streets of Nara in July, will be an extravagant affair. The ceremony will take place at the Nippon Budokan in central Tokyo with approximately 6,000 attendees including the US Vice President Kamala Harris, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, and Australian PM Anthony Albanese. Theresa May will represent the UK. It will cost 1.6 billion yen (10.5 million pounds). The event has become mired in controversy. Many in Japan are fiercely opposed to the decision, made by current PM Fumio Kishida, to grant a

Who could replace Shinzo Abe as Japanese PM?

Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, has announced that he will step down, as soon as his replacement is selected. This is the second time that Abe has resigned the premiership (the first being in 2007) and ill health has again been cited as the reason. Abe has visited hospital several times in recent weeks and has looked tired on his rare public appearances as his chronic bowel disease has recurred. The news has sparked two debates – the first, urgent one, is over Abe’s successor. The front-runner is probably Shigeru Ishiba, the 63-year-old former defence minister and Abe critic. The hawkish Ishiba is relatively liked by voters, but is