On Sunday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe overtook Junichiro Koizumi to become Japan’s third longest serving postwar leader. Ahead of him are only the 20th century political giants of Shigeru Yoshida and Eisaku Sato. Abe has used this time to leave a lasting imprint on Japan, transforming its security architecture and lending his name to Abenomics, his strategy for economic revival.
Abe’s strong leadership was initially welcomed by many who had grown weary of the succession of short-lived administrations. Yet, if there is a golden rule of politics, it is that power corrupts as hubris inflates leaders’ egos and they begin to conflate personal interests with those of the state. After five continuous years in office, Abe increasingly appears to be suffering from this affliction.