Abe’s cabinet line-up was publicized on Tuesday. The Japan Times has an English list attached to its article on the announcement that unfortunately doesn’t contain the brief biographies from the print edition. Different commentators have different prognostications to offer, as always, but most agree that what will be most important to pay attention to is how the Abe government decides to prioritize and compromise. The cabinet members and advisors who are personal allies of his are almost uniformly hard-right in their public positions, but much of the rest of the LDP isn’t. Besides, some of Abe’s policy goals are, on their face, at odds with each other. (I’ll be interested to see how he manages to repair relations with China while also scotching its plans to become the preeminent regional economic and political power and increasing Japan’s military autonomy.)
Speaking of which, Abe has not stated one way or another whether he plans to visit the Yasukuni Shrine as prime minister. He was, however, questioned about it this morning:
The first questioner from the Democratic Party of Japan was party leader Yukio Hatoyama, who raised the point that the prime minister is coordinating visits to the PRC and ROK without having stated clearly whether he will make pilgrimages to the Yasukuni Shrine. Hatoyama criticized the prime minister: “This is going to turn into Jun’ichiro Koizumi, the Second Act–losing trust [from China and Korea] through evasive maneuvers.”
Touching on the prime minister’s [previous] argument that “thinking that requires separating Class-A war criminals from others is off-target,” Hatoyama pressed him: “Just where does responsibility lie?”
The second act part is originally 二の舞 (ni no mai: “second dance”), usually used when you fail in the same way as someone else by making the same dumb mistakes. Abe is, if anything, more combative about the Yasukuni issue than his predecessor was. Koizumi’s line was, to the extent that one could get meaning from it, that it was possible to pay respect to those who’d served Japan in good faith while leaving the malefactors to whatever reward/retribution had been served to them in the next life.