His tenure as a highly popular conservative politician spans almost three decades. He also snagged many iconic photo opportunities. many of which are featured below.
Abe was a staunch all-weather ally of America during both of his terms as Japan's prime Minister (2006-2007 as well as 2012-2020).
Abe maintained a close relationship with the former U.S. President George W. Bush and even visited Bush during his time in his home country of the U.S. in 2007. Abe and Bush were born into families of political power. Abe's father, Kishi Nobusuke, was the prime minister of Japan from 1957 until 1960. His father, Abe Shintaro, served as Japan's foreign minister from 1982 until 1986. Bush's great-grandfather, Prescott Bush, served as a U.S. senator from 1952 until 1963. Bush's father George H. W. Bush (Prescott's son) was the 41st President in the U.S from 1989 until 1993.
Prescott Bush and Nobusuke golfed alongside the former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the U.S. in 1957. Washington described the event as a symbol of the “renewal” of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Japan following WWII (1939-1945) which was an era of conflict during which both nations engaged in war on opposite sides.
Abe helped lead Tokyo's support for Washington in the wake of the terrorist attacks carried out on U.S. soil on September 11th, 2001. The attack was carried out by al-Qaeda the world's terrorist group.
“Activities by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces [SDF] based on the Japan-U.S. alliance were expanded dramatically to cover areas including the Indian Ocean and the Middle East, on top of the Far East, in the course of the U.S.-led war on terrorism after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States 20 years ago,” Japan's Nippon news site recalled on September 20, 2021.
“During the war, the Japanese government dispatched Maritime SDF vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel warships from countries such as Britain and France, as well as the United States, while a permanent law enabling the dispatch of the SDF abroad was established,” Nippon stated.
Abe became the only Japanese premier ever to address a joint session of U.S. Congress. The speech was titled “Toward an Alliance of Hope” that focused around Tokyo's “strong belief in democratic principles and ideals that Japan associates herself with the free nations of the world.”
As we mentioned earlier, Abe's great-grandfather, Nobusuke, golfed with former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957 in an act of symbolic recognition to show that there was a healing between the two nations following the end of World War II.
The Japanese foreign ministry declared the couple to be “the first State Guests [to visit Japan] after the enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor on 1st May 2019,” referring to Japanese Emperor Naruhito. Trump is the very first leader of the world to meet Naruhito when he was elevated as the emperor.
North Korea and Japan have no diplomatic relationship. North Korean state media routinely denounces Japan for being a rebellious imperialist state, and harkening back to Imperial Japan's conduct during World War II. North Korea and America have been at war technically for the past 70 years.
Abe was seen walking out of Tokyo's Yasukuni Shinto Shrine to Japan's veterans in October of 2012. The shrine was first established in 1869. The visits of Abe along with other Japanese state officials have caused controversy in Chinese people who observe the shrine as it honors Japanese war criminals who committed crimes during World War II. Japan and China engaged in war with each other during the war.
Tibetans believe that fourteenth Dalai Lama to be both an ordained spiritual leader and a political one of Tibet which is an Buddhist kingdom situated in the north of India and is occupied by the Chinese dominant Communist Party in 1950. Abe is a vocal advocate of the Chinese government's oppression of Tibet and other places, including its unlawful encroachment upon Taiwan as well as Hong Kong. Abe also voiced his the support for Uyghur ethnic minorities living in occupation East Turkistan, where the Chinese Communist Party has committed genocide against the minority ethnic group in the last few years in accordance with the U.S. State Department.
Abe brought Japan closer to India by putting in concerted effort to improve their bilateral relations during his time as the premier.
“[T]o Abe goes much of the credit for the transformation of India-Japan ties in the last two decades, including the Japanese funding for ambitious projects such as the Mumbai-Delhi Industrial Corridor and the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train,” the Indian Express noted July 9.
The prime minister made a unique presence in Brazil to announce Tokyo's 2020 Summer Olympics, which were eventually postponed until 2021 because of an outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus epidemic.
Alongside close relations in and out of the United States, Abe attempted to improve the relationship with Russia. As Japan along with the Soviet Union never signed a peace agreement, Russia and Japan remain technically in war status following World War II. Yet, Abe attempted to build relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, often using dogs.
Abe is seen with a dog owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014 on a trip to Russia to take part in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Akita, the Japanese prefecture, gave Putin this dog back in the month of July, as per the Russian government's official website.
“The three-month old female puppy has been offered to the teenage Pyeongchang Winter Olympic gold medalist by a group dedicated to preserving the Japanese breed,” Reuters announced at the moment.
“Abe was a pet for the fluffy dog prior to handing it to Zagitova, a 16-year-old. Zagitova fell in love with the breed during her practicing in Japan prior to or during Olympics and pleaded with her parents to let her get the Akita pup if she was successful in winning at the Games,” according to the news agency.
Abe, along with his partner, Akie, enjoyed an intimate audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace during a trip Abe went to in Europe and Russia during the summer. Abe addressed reporters from London the day that he met Queen Elizabeth during which he declared:
“In three weeks, in three weeks, the G7 Summit to be held in Ise-Shima, Japan will turn determination into actions. I plan to create Ise-Shima, Japan's G7 Ise-Shima Summit, a venue for making a huge step towards collaborating to tackle the many problems facing the world.”
“The G7 nations, the world's most powerful economies, that have the same fundamental values of democracy, freedom as well as human rights and respect for the law, and have contributed to the world to development and peace, carry an enormous responsibility in this regard.”
“One of the most significant outcomes I gained from my trip to Europe is that I could feel that same feeling of mission and responsibility with the Prime Minister Cameron who I recently held summit talks with.”
Pope Francis' tour to Japan was the only time in the history of a pope who is currently in office. Pope Francis advocated for nuclear disarmament in his meeting with Abe.
Japan's foreign ministry summarized a few of the issues that were discussed between the two leaders of the time, and wrote:
Japan as the sole country that has ever been hit by nuclear bombs is obligated to lead efforts of the world leaders to create a “World without Nuclear Weapons.” Prime Minister Abe maintained his resolve that “we will tirelessly work to achieve the dream of a “World that is free of Nuclear Warfare” by preserving all of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, deepening knowledge of the realities of nuclear bombs and working to bridge the gap between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states. In the aftermath, His Holy Pope Francis welcomed Japan's efforts and expressed his appreciation for Japan's commitment.
The Japanese president visited the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant just a few months after an earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown of the power station in march. This was a major natural catastrophe that left terrible consequences, including extensive destruction to the environment and economic system that continues to be a problem.