“Widely recognized is his economic policy program called ‘Abenomics’ which introduced a three-pronged strategy of monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reform”
A state funeral in honor of the death of a current or former head of government is an expected ritual observed by countries and attended by high officials and even the leaders of other nations.
The state funeral of Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is a historic event we are currently witnessing and illustrates the importance of upholding this universally cherished tradition.
However, in Japan, the situation is different. When Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio announced the Cabinet’s decision to schedule a state funeral on September 27 to mourn the shocking death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the hands of an assassin, the announcement sparked protests against the decision.
Results of an NHK poll showed divided public sentiment over the decision to hold a government-funded funeral.
Looking back on former Prime Minister Abe’s political career, his prominence rose when he returned to power in 2020, where he launched sweeping reforms to Japan’s foreign and security policy.
He played a decisive role in the development of the concept of the “Indo-Pacific” as early as 2007 when he expressed before the Indian Parliament his aspiration for a “wider Asia” at the “confluence of the two seas of the Indian and Pacific”.
He was a firm believer in forging deep friendships with the citizens of democratic nations on both sides of the seas.
He was a strong advocate of forming alliances with other liberal democracies across Asia.
It was under his tenure that Japan sought to reinvigorate the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) with India, Australia and the United States with the aim of persuading like-minded states to pursue a “ free and open order” across the Indo-Pacific.
His economic policy program called “Abenomics” is widely recognized and introduced a three-pronged strategy of monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reform.
This put the Japanese economy back on track and led to an increase in GDP, tax revenue and a drop in the unemployment rate to less than 3%.
Abenomics was backed by the subsequent administration and has been credited by many analysts with improving the Japanese economy.
The strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan has been strengthened under Abe’s tenure, especially in managing the expansion of China’s expansionist actions in the region.
In December 2012, Prime Minister Abe sent Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on a diplomatic tour of four Asia-Pacific countries to express Japan’s growing concern over Beijing’s extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea.
In Manila, Minister Kishida and then Philippine Foreign Minister Albert Del Rosario agreed to work closely together in the pursuit of maritime security.
During the 2013 official visit to the Philippines, Prime Minister Abe’s meeting with President Benigno Aquino III focused on bilateral cooperation and strengthening the security partnership between the Philippines and Japan.
This culminated in the 2015 joint statement titled “A Strengthened Strategic Partnership to Advance Shared Principles and Goals for Peace, Security and Growth in the Region and Beyond” to reiterate the two nations’ shared commitment to ensuring peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific. region, promote economic growth and address international challenges, among others.
Prime Minister Abe returned again for an official visit with former President Rodrigo Duterte, during which the two heads of government renewed their promises to strengthen maritime cooperation and jointly solve problems in the South China Sea. .
Remember that at the height of the clash between the Philippines and China, Japan provided coast guard ships and reconnaissance aircraft units to the Philippines.
Among Japan’s contributions were Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs) and TC-90 reconnaissance aircraft.
No less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. led the Philippine government’s expression of grief and sympathy recognizing Abe as a visionary leader and “a devoted friend and supporter of the Philippines, and it was under his leadership that Filipino-Japanese relations really blossomed.”
“The decisive and effective assistance he gave to the Philippines and the warmth he showed during the many visits he made to our country will never be forgotten and will be written as one of the most exceptional periods of our bilateral history,” President Marcos Jr. said.
The death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has prompted strong outrage and expressions of condolence from heads of state, regardless of cultural or political dynamics.
Abe’s legacy as a unifying spirit has contributed to peace and prosperity for the international community.
Despite some unique political nuances in Japanese history and society, honoring the contributions of such a great statesman of Japan with a state funeral is not only appropriate, but an excellent opportunity for diplomacy that will bring together world leaders to pay tribute. , remember and hopefully build momentum to pursue peace and shared growth.