As the End of the Abe Era Approaches in Japan, a Succession Battle Looms

Newly appointed Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi speaks during a press conference at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo, Sept. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Eugene Hoshiko).
Newly appointed Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi speaks during a press conference at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo, Sept. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Eugene Hoshiko).
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Barring the unexpected, Shinzo Abe will become the longest-serving prime minister in Japan’s history this November. Speculation is already rife among Japanese commentators over who could be next in line for the top job. A major reshuffle of Abe’s Cabinet earlier this month sets the stage for what the Nikkei Asian Review calls “Japan’s post-Abe game of thrones.” The crowded field of potential successors include Taro Kono, who was appointed defense minister after serving a two-year stint as foreign minister, and Toshimitsu Motegi, who replaced Kono at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Motegi has been close to Abe for years, […]

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