Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has outlasted those that scoffed at his return to power as leader of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party in 2012. And yet while the prime minister appears to have established himself as an increasingly dominant force in domestic politics over the past decade, the most significant changes may have in fact taken place at home.

Since 2006, Akie Abe has transformed from being a supportive wife who was almost invisible in the background to becoming a national figure in her own right.

Akie, 54, makes frequent appearances in magazines and interviews online, while also traveling all over the country to hear the views of the people — both young and old. She is quick to stand up for the disadvantaged, supporting residents in Tohoku who face hardship in the wake of the 2011 disasters as well as encouraging those in the LGBT community to have the confidence to pursue what they want to be.