Japan’s parliament this week elected nationalist Shinzo Abe to replace Junichiro Koizumi as prime minister. Abe, 52, is the first Japanese premier to be born after World War II. The son of a foreign minister and grandson of a prime minister, Abe supports a strong alliance with the U.S. and a greater role for Japan’s military. He is expected to continue Koizumi’s general policies, but his Cabinet has a more conservative bent. His pick for the women’s affairs minister, for example, opposes a plan to let married women keep their maiden names, and his defense chief is expected to upgrade the agency to a full ministry. In his first meeting with reporters, Abe said he intends to pursue “an assertive diplomacy.”
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