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The reason the Japanese government has leapt into action on various fronts prior to the North Korea-US summit is because the issue of the abductees and the North Korean threat have turned Abe into a leading right-wing politician. After the abductee issue blew up following the visit to Pyongyang by former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Sept. 2002, Abe gained considerable popularity by riding a wave of popular indignation that brought him to power for the first time (Sept. 2006-Sept. 2007).
Another factor is the election of the president of the Liberal Democratic Party, which will be taking place in September. Amid escalating scandals over a private school, Abe finds himself in a position where his reelection is no longer a sure thing. What he needs at such a time is North Korean misbehavior - missile launches and nuclear tests.
"Abe's two likely challengers are former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba and former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, who leads a large faction in the LDP. Ishiba, a defense hawk, would not likely change Abe's policy agenda toward constitutional reform," said [Johns Hopkins ACADEMIC WILLIAM] Brooks. "Kishida, who comes from the dovish wing of the LDP and represents Hiroshima, is not as committed to changing Article 9 to allow explicit mention of the SDF as the nation's army as is ... Abe."
Three major Western leaders - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - visited Russia during the period since May 18, mainly to attend the St Petersburg Economic Forum. ...Of course, the three Western leaders who traveled to Russia were not acting in concert. Merkel, Macron, Abe - each had a specific agenda
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