Grant Newsham is a Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies. He is a retired US Marine Colonel and lived in Japan for 20 years, also serving as a diplomat assigned to the US Embassy, Tokyo and working in the private sector.
Shinzo Abe will not be Japan's Prime Minister forever, and once he leaves office he might just be missed.
Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister in decades with a strategic vision of Japan's role in the world. He recognised that Japan could no longer sit quietly, writing the occasional check, while events unfolded around it. Foremost, he saw that close ties with the US are indispensable for Japan – and that forging a strong Japan-US relationship required Tokyo to become a more 'useful' ally.