Grimes Comments on the Assassination and Legacy of Shinzo Abe

In an interview with BU Today, William Grimes, Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, analyzes the late Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s legacy and the implications of his murder for Japan.

Grimes mourned the loss of Abe and noted how he altered the trajectory of not just his nation’s politics, but the world’s. Abe’s landmark fiscal and monetary policies – “Abenomics” – his impact on the role of Prime Minister in Japan, as well as his popularity during and after his leadership made him an incredibly influential politician. While wildly impactful, Grimes says Abe also gave rise to some troubling sentiments in Japanese politics and society. In exploring the good and bad of Abe, Grimes paints a picture of the late Prime Minister’s impact on Japan and how the country will respond to this act of political violence. 

An excerpt:

What will be the reaction in Japan to this, both politically and culturally?

People are shocked. The Sankei Shimbun [newspaper] put out a list of every attack on a politician, and there have only been three killed since 1960, only one of whom was killed by a gun. Japanese politicians, even prime ministers, have minimal security, and it is normal to do what Abe was doing: standing out in front of a train station with spectators within 20 feet or so. I don’t think that will change too much, except maybe for cabinet members or where there’s a specific known threat, insofar as the killer, in this case, appears to be a lone wolf. However, if there are more such incidents, it could raise the distance between politicians and voters, which would be very unfortunate.  

Grimes’ full interview can be read on BU Today‘s website.

Professor William Grimes has taught at Boston University since 1996. He previously served as the Pardee School’s Dean for Academic Affairs, chair of the Department of International Relations, and the first director of the BU Center for the Study of Asia. He is the author of, amongst others, Currency and Contest in East Asia (2008) and Unmaking the Japanese Miracle (2001). Read more about Professor Grimes on his faculty profile.