To understand why, after nearly a decade away from blogging, I have decided to revive Observing Japan, I would point to the final paragraph of my 2020 book, The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan. Japan still faces a challenging future. The next generation of the Abe–Kishi dynasty may face more significant challenges than any of its predecessors. Japan’s most momentous decisions still lie ahead, as the planet warms, China’s power grows, US leadership fades, and the Japanese population ages. It is unknown whether his successor— whether that is his longtime rival Ishiba Shigeru, former foreign minister Kishida Fumio, current Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu, current Defense Minister Kōno Tarō, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, or some dark horse—will convince the Japanese people and the world that Japan is still capable of great things in a turbulent and uncertain future.
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