Next Year's Japanese Election Could Be Very Bad For Relations With China

Japan Shinzo Abe

Photo: AP

The tension between China and Japan doesn’t look like it will dissipate anytime soon. There’s reason to believe that it could get worse, however.Shinzo Abe, a former Prime Minister from 2006-2007, has been selected as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the AP reports. This now makes him odds on favourite to become the next prime minister of Japan, where elections are due to take place in 2013.

In some ways Abe may seem a strange choice. His short time in office years ago led to him resigning due to bowel problems and featured a number of cabinet scandals occurred despite his short (366 days) time in office.

However, Abe’s tenure was known for its nationalistic tone. For example, he said there was no evidence that women were forced to become sex slaves by Japanese forces during World War II, provoking anger in China and South Korea. His government also began to look into a referendum on Japan’s pacifist constitution.

Abe’s grandfather was former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, who was arrested for war crimes after World War II but never charged.

Intriguingly, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei refused to comment on the Abe’s selection at a press conference earlier today, according to Xinhua. However, Hong reiterated that current tensions over the islands were initiated by the Japanese side, and Tokyo must accept responsibility for what they’ve done.

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