Much Ado About Abe

With outgoing prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi due to step down next month, Japan's neighbors are breathing a sigh of relief and focusing their attention on his likely successor, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe. Koizumi's visits to the controversial Yasukuni shrine?the latest on Aug. 15?have long outraged China and South Korea, who view them as deliberate celebrations of Japanese militarism. But Beijing and Seoul have signaled their willingness to give Abe a chance to repair ties?if he forgoes Yasukuni.

Don't bet on it. A lifelong right-winger from conservative stock (his grandfather was arrested as a war criminal after World...

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