Shinzo Abe resigns as Prime Minister of Japan
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe(Abe Shinzo, in the native naming convention where the family name appears first), announced his resignation last Friday due to health issues, stating that he is unable to perform his role fully as a result.
The resignation comes in a particularly complicated moment, given the pandemic situation that is still ongoing, including in Japan. Abe leaves part of his government project unfulfilled, having started his role in 2012 after a brief first term in 2006-2007, which came to an end due to the same health reasons, but still making this the longest governing period in modern Japan.
Abe’s term was marked by a phase of economic stagnation, whose recipe was named “Abenomics”. Despite mixed results, the Abe government has been seen as a promoter of stability. In the international field, Japan has been remaking its doctrines and positioning, currently in a process of remilitarization which the end of the 2nd World War had until now made impossible, as well as reorganizing and coordinating strategically, taking into account China’s regional ascendancy.
Greece and Turkey under the spotlight
In the last few weeks, several developments have been making headlines in the Mediterranean involving Greece and Turkey as well as other actors in the region.
The joint military exercises which Greece has been undertaking with Cyprus, France and Italy are seen negatively by Turkey, who has been expanding its influence in the region diplomatically, including in Libya.
In this context, Greece has been increasing the pace of military exercises, this time with the United Arab Emirates, in the region where there were disagreements with Turkey over the exploitation of mineral resources. Also this week, Greece is expected to ratify a maritime agreement with Egypt, something which is seen as a counterbalance to the Turkey-Libya agreement.
Turkey, in turn, had its defense minster meet his British counterpart to discuss the eastern Mediterranean question. Additionally, an agreement for greater cooperation in the defense sector was signed with Ukraine.
- The USA removed military support from Mali, after the toppling of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
- Germany and Ukraine sealed a partnership for improving energy security in Ukraine, by integrating it into the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity.
- Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia cancelled a secret meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister in Washington, after the meeting became public knowledge. The meeting was aimed at improving relationships between both states.
- Over 100,000 people protested against Lukashenko last Sunday, according to Human Rights Watch, leading the government to restrict mobile internet services. State broadcaster Belarus 1 reports only 20,000. The protests remain until today. Russian broadcaster RBC states the protests are affecting about 27% of the Belarusian GDP.
- Taiwan agreed to remove import restrictions to American pork and beef, a measure which is anticipated to be unpopular among national producers but which was seen by American trade negotiators as crucial.
- Japan and Great-Britain are expected to sign a trade deal, similar to the preexisting one between the EU and Japan.
- The IDF and Hezbollah reportedly had a confrontation by the border, in Lebanon. According to an Israeli source, the event took place in response to lebanese fire on its troops.
- The Russian and Armenian Defense Ministers met in Moscow to discuss regional security and military cooperation.
- The USA applied sanctions on 24 Chinese companies, which were associated with island-building in the South China Sea.
- On the ground reports mention a collision between a Russian and an American military vehicle in Syria.