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Five things you need to know about Japan's new leader

posted 17 Dec 2012, 07:39 by Mpelembe   [ updated 17 Dec 2012, 07:40 ]

Reuters Business  Report -   The election is over and Japan has elected its new prime minister.

The winner? Shinzo Abe.

So who exactly is this man charged with reviving the world's third-largest economy?

Here are 5 things you need to know about Japan's new number 1:

First, Abe is a comeback kid.

He was originally elected to the top office back in 2006, but bailed out just one year in over health issues.

Since then, the country's shuffled through leaders at a near annual rate culminating with Abe's return.

Number two, he's a hawk.

Abe wants Japan to move on from its post-World-War-II pacifism.

He's a visitor to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine, and has plans to boost defense spending.

Number three, the Abe of today is no Beijing appeaser.

After making overtures to China in his first stint as PM, he's now taking a harder stance.

The biggest potential flashpoint - these tiny Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea. Both countries claim them, and Abe has pledged to defend them.

Number four, he is Japan's answer to the Kennedys. Or the Bushs I guess, in the dynastic political family sense.

Abe's father served as a foreign minister. His grandfather, an ex-prime minister too.

And number five, Abe's war on deflation.

Years of falling wages, lower prices, and weak demand have all stunted Japan's economic growth.

Abe wants to shake up the central bank with unlimited stimulus and a two-percent inflation target.

This could be his defining policy, but also potentially his most difficult to achieve.