People Who Mattered: Shinzo Abe

One of the most inspired political acts of 2006 occurred on Oct. 8, when newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepped off a plane in Beijing. Relations between China and Japan were at their lowest ebb in decades, largely because Abe's predecessor Junichiro Koizumi had repeatedly visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including 14 Class-A war criminals. Abe's momentous trip to China broke a political stalemate between Asia's two leading powers and portended closer economic and diplomatic ties between these historical rivals.

Yet Abe's boldness abroad hasn't been matched at home, where doubts over...

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