Shinzo Abe’s personality and foreign policy preferences
Abstract：Individuals are the core of diplomacy, but the role of individuals is often ignored or even disregarded in previous studies. As the top decision maker of Japan’s diplomacy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has distinctive personalities and unique leadership style. After this round of election, Abe’s absolute dominance continues. Abe will follow established strategic goals and fully implement the Abe Doctrine. Driven by the strong belief of getting out of defeat, Abe’s personality traits can influence his foreign policy preferences to some extent. As a reform leader and guided by goals, he compares himself to a combative politician and is proactive in leadership. Abe has strong demand for power and great courage to deal with political setbacks in proper manners and methods. In terms of core interpersonal relationship, the Abe administration is clearly characterized by cliquism and prefers to appoint familiar people. He emphasizes both outside image and inside leadership. When there are conflicts between the two, the latter comes first. Factors affecting Abe’s personality include the spiritual nourishment of his hometown Choshu Domain, Kishi DNA and heritage of Shintaro as well as his education and work experience in governments. On major policies of the country with spillover effect, Abe both strategically sticks to the kernel and relatively keeps pragmatic in terms of strategy. Abe attaches great importance to strategic diplomacy and security guarantees represented by ―diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map‖ and ―Proactive Contribution to Peace.‖ The current important task is the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. In terms of cognition and preferences for the U.S., he advocates being pro-American but bears the feeling of resentment. In term of relationship with China, he advocates separation of politics and economy, and establishes Sino-Japanese relations based on interests rather than friendship. His administration exerts pressure on the DPRK and wins the support of domestic public opinion by taking advantages of DPRK issue. Generally, Abe holds retro national views. He has the toughness
About the author: ZHANG Yong, Associate Research Fellow at Institute of Japanese Studies,
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Bejing 100007).
Translated by ZHANG Yan and edited by XU Li.