‘Terrorism:’ Shinzo Abe killing seen as attack on Japan’s democracy

TOKYO: An attack on democracy and free speech. Flashbacks of political murders in pre-war Japan. Terrorism.
Public outrage, handwritten actions and defiant oaths by politicians and on social media is spreading following the former Prime Minister’s daytime assassination with a homemade gun Shinzo Abea major political force even after he stepped down in 2020 as the nation’s longest-serving political leader.
“The bullet has pierced the foundation of democracy,” the liberal Asahi newspaper, a frequentist of Abe’s sometimes historic revisionist, said in a front-page editorial. after the murder. “We tremble with rage.”
Part of the collective anger is that crime is so rare in Japan, where it’s not uncommon to see cell phones and wallets lying unattended in cafes. Gun attacks are rare, especially in recent years and especially in political contexts, although they do happen.
But the shock can also be rooted in the context: Abe was killed near a crowded train station, in the midst of a parliamentary election campaign speech, which Japan, despite its long history of one party’s political dominance and growing voter apathy, taken seriously.
Mikito Chinen, a writer and doctor, announced on Twitter that he voted on Sunday because “it is important to demonstrate that democracy will not be defeated by violence”.
Mitsuru Fukuda, a professor of crisis management at Nihon University, said the attack was unique, marking the first assassination of a former leader or serving in post-war Japan, and its aftermath. it can be very serious.
“Our society may have become a place where politicians and dignitaries can be targeted at any time, and that makes people uncomfortable about being attacked for their freedom of expression. express your opinion,” Fukuda said.
Many here remember the political and social turmoil of Japan before the war, when the authorities demanded unquestioning obedience on the home front as imperial armies marched across Asia. ; it was the antithesis of democracy, a time when assassinations, government threats to dissidents, and restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly were rife.
In modern liberal democracies, political killing is virtually unheard of, although there are examples of political violence, such as the January 6, 2021 uprising at the US Capitol. United States in Washington.
The motive of the suspected gunman, Abe, was not immediately clear, who was arrested after being cleared by security, although police and media reports indicated it was not political.
But the reunion of the assassination just days before a national election in one of the world’s most stable and affluent countries – and an act, along with ally the United States, as a political sign and security against undemocratic neighbors such as China and North Korea – has raised fears that something fundamental has changed.
“Japan is a democracy, so the murder of a former prime minister is an attack on all of us,” the Japan Times said in an editorial. “This is an act of terrorism.”
Political leaders continue their campaigns after Abe’s death, with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that Abe has been the leader to score an even bigger win than expected on Sunday.
“In the midst of our election, which is the foundation of democracy, we must absolutely not let violence take away our freedom of speech,” the Prime Minister said. Fumio Kishida said before the election, amid increased security.
Despite Japan’s high standard of living and enviable safety, extreme acts of violence sometimes occur, including attacks by people who exhibit feelings of failure and isolation. create.
One of the most recent was in October, when a man wearing a Joker costume stabbed an elderly man, then lit oil before setting fire to the Tokyo subway and attempting to attack more people with his weapon. knife.
In the political arena, perhaps the most prominent post-war assassination occurred in 1960, when a far-right attacked socialist leader Inejiro Asanuma with a sword in front of thousands of spectators.
Gun attacks, however, are a different story.
Japan has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, based on a 1946 order issued by American forces during occupation. According to the latest annual crime report from the Department of Justice, police made 21 gun seizures in 2020; 12 people are related to the gang.
In 1994, a gunman shot but missed the Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa in a speech. Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Ito was assassinated by gun in 2007.
Stephen Nagy, a professor of politics and international relations at Tokyo International Christian University, said many of the people he spoke to see Abe’s attack as “a lone wolf case”, not an attack. attack on democracy.
“The primary concern is about the leadership vacuum that will arise when (Abe’s) biggest political faction has just lost their leader and this will have an impact on the trajectory of domestic politics,” Nagy said. speak.
Compared to the United States and Europe, security for political and business leaders in Japan is generally less stringent, except at special, international events.
That’s partly due to the perceived lack of threats.
But the nature of the overt attack on Abe could lead to an urgent review of how Japan protects its officials and tightens security at election campaigns or large-scale events.
Japan used to be a safe enough place for politicians to get up close to ordinary people, chat and shake hands, says Fukuda. “It’s a happy environment, but we may be losing it.”
“In a society where the risk of assassination is real, the level of security has to be raised,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate development, but we couldn’t protect our safety otherwise.”

Source link


Kig News: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button