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The State Funeral of Shinzo Abe | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Grief & controversy in Japan for Shinzo Abe's state funeral

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here from Tokyo, Japan, where it has been a pretty intense day. The state funeral of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister who, of course, of Japan was assassinated some 80 days ago. In some ways just kind of an astonishing couple of weeks for the world. Beginning of last week, of course, you had the funeral for Queen Elizabeth, by far the most important figure for the United Kingdom in the post-war period. Then the United Nations, where the entire world comes together in New York, and now in Japan, the state funeral, the first state funeral that you've had in Japan, 55 years for Abe Shinzo, who is by far the most important figure in Japan in the post-war period.

And in both cases, an astonishing outpouring of emotion, of grief in both countries. In the United Kingdom, of course, because she had ruled for 70 years, through so many prime ministers, since Churchill. In Japan, because Prime Minister Abe was gunned down, was assassinated by a young man with homemade weapons in a country that has virtually no violence and certainly not gun attacks against a former prime minister in broad daylight.

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Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a news conference during the 77th UN General Assembly in New York.

REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

Will Japan's PM avoid the "danger zone" after Abe funeral?

Japan held a controversial state funeral Tuesday for former PM Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in early July. Now that the ceremony is over, one attendee who'll feel some relief is Fumio Kishida, the embattled current prime minister.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China February 4, 2022

Reuters

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Putin hears out Xi on Ukraine, blasts “unipolar” world

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met in person on Thursday for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine. The Russian leader said he valued the “balanced position” Beijing has taken over Ukraine, noting that he understood Xi’s “concerns” about how the war is going (not well). But since there’s no way the Russian president will reverse course in Ukraine, he took the opportunity to play his greatest hits, railing against US-led efforts to create a “unipolar” world that leaves both Russia and China out to dry. Putin might consider what a US Senate committee did Wednesday an example of that. It advanced a bill that would for the first time authorize providing $4.5 billion worth of direct US military aid to Taiwan. The proposal still needs to pass the Senate, and the White House is not fully on board. But if it becomes law, Beijing will likely see this as a de facto change in US policy toward Taiwan. Since 1979, Washington has sold Taiwan weapons to defend itself against a Chinese invasion that was considered a long shot just a decade ago. Not so much now — which explains why the US is mulling preemptive sanctions to deter Xi.

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Jess Frampton

Why Japan’s political Moonies have staying power

When Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reshuffled his cabinet for the first time since former PM Shinzo Abe’s assassination earlier this summer, it was a response to his falling approval rating. His government was struggling to tame rising COVID infections and acute inflation.

But it was also seen as damage control for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s ties to the controversial Unification Church. Kishida fired cabinet ministers linked to the cult-like religious movement born in South Korea whose members are known as Moonies (after founder Sun Myung Moon).

Although the PM also promised only to appoint future cabinet members who agree to review their relationship with the church, it wasn’t enough. After his popularity plummeted 16 percentage points in just a month to 36%, its lowest level since he took power, Kishida this week demanded all cabinet members review their past ties to the religious group.

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Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his cabinet ministers pose for a photo in Tokyo, Japan.

REUTERS/Issei Kato

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Moonies out of the Japanese government

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday removed all cabinet ministers linked to the controversial Unification Church from South Korea, whose members are known as Moonies (after founder Sun Myung Moon). The ruling Liberal Democratic Party came under intense scrutiny over its ties to the church following the shocking assassination last month of former PM Shinzo Abe, whose assassin blamed the church for his family’s financial ruin. Abe was not a member but praised the conservative values of the Moonies, who campaigned on behalf of his brother — the biggest name to get a pink slip from Kishida. The PM — with no ties to the church — has had a wild ride in the polls lately. His approval rating initially skyrocketed out of sympathy for the slain leader, sweeping the LDP to a big victory in the upper house elections just days later. But now his popularity has tanked to the lowest level since he took office due to a backlash against the church, long suspected of pulling the LDP's strings. The cabinet reshuffle may help boost Kishida’s numbers a bit, but he’s not out of the woods: COVID infections keep rising, and a slim majority of Japanese citizens oppose the government-funded state funeral for Abe planned for Sept. 27.

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Will His Successor Carry Out Shinzo Abe’s Legacy? | GZERO Media

Shinzo Abe’s goal of militarization & PM Kishida’s “golden opportunity” to reform Japan

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has vowed to continue where his ex-boss, the late Shinzo Abe, left off. And he just got the parliamentary majority he needs to get big things done — including, perhaps, tweaking the constitution like Abe long dreamed of.

"Kishida now [has a] golden opportunity," Tomohiko Taniguchi, Abe's former adviser and close friend, tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Assassinated! Japan’s Grief & How Shinzo Abe’s Goals Will Shape Asia | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Assassinated! Japan’s grief & how Shinzo Abe’s goals will shape Asia

How will the shocking assassination of Shinzo Abe, Japan's former and longest-serving prime minister, reshape the country and the broader region?

And will it lead to realizing Abe's unfulfilled dream of amending Japan's postwar pacifist constitution?

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks to longtime Abe adviser Tomohiko Taniguchi, who shares how he felt when he found out his close friend had died.

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The Impact of Shinzo Abe's Assassination on Japan's Future | GZERO Media

How Shinzo Abe's positive legacy could shape Japan's future

How will the shocking murder of former PM Shinzo Abe affect Japan moving forward?

In past national tragedies, especially the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, longtime Abe adviser and close friend Tomohiko Taniguchi says that the "outpouring of sympathies and empathies from abroad helped a lot."

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