Shinzo Abe and Japan’s Strategic Reset
The Rise of the Kantei and Why It Matters to the UK Integrated Review
On Friday 28 August 2020 Japan’s longest serving Prime Minster, Shinzo Abe, announced that due to deteriorating health conditions he had to step down. During his tenure, Abe arguably conducted the most significant strategic reset of Japanese foreign and security policy since the 1950s. This paper reviews how Abe brought about such changes and why these matter to the UK. Experts have already started to examine different aspects of Abe’s policy reforms, their shortcomings, and their impact in the foreseeable future. This paper benefits from this literature – which includes fair criticisms of Abe’s reforms but it also agrees that their most significant legacy rests on a strengthened international outlook. Yet, the paper seeks to draw specific attention to why and how Abe’s Japan should be a case of particular relevance to the UK.