Abe expresses condolences over Thatcher’s death

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his condolences over the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Monday, saying she was “a great statesperson” who devoted herself to her state and her people.

“We share the deep sorrow of the British people,” Abe said in a written statement.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko also expressed his condolence, adding that Abe had great respect for the “Iron Lady.”

“From the bottom of our hearts we pray that her soul may rest in peace,” Seko said during a news conference on Monday evening.

According to Seko, Abe has identified with her because she was a conservative politician who pulled her country out of a longtime economic slump.

On Feb. 28, Abe used a quote from Thatcher’s memoirs in delivering a key policy speech at the Diet.

“These are the words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as she looked back on the Falklands War,” Abe said in the speech as he referred to the “ongoing provocations against our territory,” apparently talking about the territorial row over the Senkaku Islands.

” ‘The rule of law at sea.’ I would like to appeal to the international community that in modern times, changes to the status quo through the use of coercion or intimidation will not legitimize anything,” Abe said in the speech.

Abe also intently watched “The Iron Lady,” a movie about Thatcher, Seko told reporters.

“Now Prime Minister Abe has lost chances to directly listen to her for good. It’s really regrettable,” Seko said.

  • Mats Eri

    Goodbye to a real Lady, an irreplaceable force of nature and the greatest British leader of the 20th century. May you Rest In Peace.
    Mr Abe please learn something from The Iron Lady.

    • Masa Chekov

      Oh, I sure hope not. Following Thatcher’s lessons will just make the gap between poor and wealthy so much worse.

  • http://getironic.blogspot.com/ getironic

    “According to Seko, Abe has identified with her because she was a
    conservative politician who pulled her country out of a longtime
    economic slump.”

    …by doing almost the exact opposite of what he is doing.

    • Casper Steuperaert

      But then, Thatcher left a broken mess of a country when she left, let’s hope Abe is more carefull

      • http://getironic.blogspot.com/ getironic

        She left things just fine given the problems she had inherited. The public couldn’t handle the poll tax because the culture of Britain was still dominated by an entitlement mentality. That is why in her stead the political landscape returned to what it had been doing prior to Thatcher, with the addition of wide open immigration. Things are only worse off now.

      • Sam Gilman

        You don’t know what the poll tax was, do you?

    • Sam Gilman

      She didn’t pull the country out of a slump. She put the UK into a slump by creating a recession (she put interest rates up to very high levels at the beginning of her term in office as part of a failed economic experiment), and then sowed the seeds for the next recession in the early 1990s. There were a few years of crazy growth that were simply a property bubble.

  • osobacocky

    Yes, the gap between rich and poor widened, but EVERYONE was MUCH better off in 1990 than in 1979. Even Arthur Scargill (though he did get most of his money from Ghadafi, not the UK economy.)