A Hawkish Successor For Koizumi?

Already strained Sino-Japanese ties took a turn for the worse after Japan's Oct. 31 Cabinet shake-up. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi named foreign policy hawk Shinzo Abe, 51, as Chief Cabinet Secretary. The move positions the Liberal Democratic Party star as a likely successor to Koizumi, who is set to resign his seat in September, 2006. Abe, who regularly tops polls as a future premier, is a big backer of Japan's more assertive foreign policy and has criticized China for stirring up anti-Japanese sentiment. The Chinese press has jumped on the fact that Abe is the grandson of former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, who served in the wartime govern-ment of Hideki Tojo and was convicted as a war criminal before making a comeback in the 1950s.

Edited by Rose Brady

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