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“In a world that is deepening its mutual interdependence, inward-focused thinking is no longer able to safeguard the peace of Japan. We will fully defend the lives and assets of our nationals as well as our territory, territorial waters, and territorial airspace in a resolute manner.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; January 1, 2014; New Year’s Day Reflection Speech; Tokyo, Japan.

On Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced from Tokyo that he would be stepping down from his position. As a prominent world leader and the elected leader of Japan since 2012 and previously from 2006 to 2007, he has brought tremendous stability and peace to a region that has seen much volatility and crisis during his era of renewed leadership. This region has been on edge with North Korean nuclear testing and ballistic missile demonstrations, and Chinese encroachment in multiple lanes: its economic coercion efforts throughout Southeast Asia, challenges to the sovereignty of neighboring states in the South and East China Seas, daily infringements of Japanese air spaces, and the testing of hypersonic weapons and Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) capabilities in the region. Throughout all this Prime Minster Abe has led Japan in a persistent, effective effort to improve its self-defense, establish its role as the critical component to regional security and a reliable ally to the United States. Prime Minister Abe has led the effort to change to alter Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution to enable self-protection to defend its nation. He recognizes Japan’s need for more than a token capability, or a capability dependent on the United States, but an independent self-defense capability that can work side by side with the United States in stabilizing the region.

Prime Minister Abe has been a stalwart leader in adapting Japanese pacifist post-World War II posture and defense capabilities to meet the growing national security threats facing his nation and his close ally, the United States.

In 2014, the cabinet of Prime Minister Abe issued a decision reinterpreting the Japanese constitution’s Article 9 ‘peace clause’ to allow the country to exercise collective self-defense — the right to use force to aid an ally under attack – and later gained legislative approval for this change. This overturned decades of government interpretations and was a critical step in allowing the Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) to coordinate actions with the United States and give the SDF the ability to aid U.S. forces under attack.

Abe has worked to build broad-based support to amend Japan’s constitution for the first time ever to normalize and formalize the role of the Japanese SDF as the nation’s armed forces. This challenge of making this change will now fall to his successor.

Prime Minster Abe has set the record for longest uninterrupted run as Prime Minister in Japanese History and is the pathfinder for Japanese defense with a global-based reshaping of the previously bilateral and regional foreign policy approach of his predecessors.

  • Creating the Japanese National Security Council to allow for better coordination of national security policy and to create Japan’s first ever National Security Strategy.
  • Strengthening the US-Japan Alliance. Prime Minster Abe was the first Japanese Prime Minister to address a join sitting of the US Congress and developed relationships with both Presidents Obama and Trump. He additionally explained the importance of Japan and the US’s “Alliance of Hope” and pledged to increase Japan’s active role in the alliance.
  • Working tirelessly to improve relations with South Korea and China. Abe worked with his respective leaders to reestablish an annual Trilateral Summit and find ways to improve economic and diplomatic troubles between the nations.
  • Expanding the SDF’s operational capacity through the introduction of 11 bills that made up the “Peace and Security Preservation Legislation” 2015.
  • Creating the International Counterterrorism Intelligence Collection Unit to aid counter-terrorism operations through the Foreign Ministry and the office of the Prime Minister.
  • Supporting the 2018 US-North Korea summit while campaigning the US to avoid compromising on North Korea’s missile program.
  • Promoting and free and open Indo-Pacific with neighboring nations. Abe repeatedly met with leaders from China, Taiwan, India, and Southeast Asia to increase its political, security, and economic ties.

Prime Minster Abe has led Japan’s SDF to become one of the world’s most capable missile defense forces and this effort permeates its Maritime Self Defense Force, Air Self Defense Force, and Ground Self-Defense Force. Beginning in 2006 with the first enabled Japanese Aegis Afloat KONGO-Class Destroyer with SM3 IB interceptors and today the new ATAGO-Class Destroyers with SM3 Block IIA interceptors. Prime Minster Abe has overseen the Patriot Land Based defense with the addition of the new MSE interceptors and the buildup of the new Missile Defense Base and Command – located at Yokota Air Base – additionally overseen significant decisions on ballistic missile defense.

Prime Minster Abe redefined what Japanese deterrence would look like with the ever-changing threat from North Korea and he redefined what a true bilateral security partnership with the United States should look like in countering Chinese actions in the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, and more broadly throughout all of East Asia. The Unites States and its military will miss his leadership but enjoy the fruits of his efforts in the decade ahead.

We appreciate Prime Minster Abe’s strategic sense, and his resolute confidence and patience in the face of threats emanating from North Korea and China. He has adroitly navigated the Diplomatic arena to ensure regional peace and stability, he is a stalwart for Missile Defense and what it does on the international stage.

Like former US President Ronald Reagan, Prime Minister Abe has proved himself as a practitioner for the principle of “Peace Through Strength!” It is his strength of character that draws the respect of friend and foe.

We congratulate a peace maker and world leader that made the world better.

Mission Statement

MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.

MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.