Also, regarding the security environment, for instance, we were having many cases of violations made by Chinese government vessels in territorial waters of Japan, and also we were experiencing many cases where there have been intrusions into Japan’s air defense identification zone and territorial airspace. I believe, therefore, that that has attracted support for my very strong position that we should make sure to defend the Japanese territory, territorial waters and airspace with strong determination. And also, at the same time, my past track record with having made improvements in the relationship with Japan and China may have also been a factor in being reelected. It was in the first Abe administration that we started the mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests between Japan and China. And I believe all these elements together have culminated in support for me during the elections.
Q: But if I could just follow up, did you learn something from the first term, and are you different now than you were in 2006-07?
Abe: I did learn from many mistakes. First and foremost, I learned that it is important to create a wide base of support within the LDP. In forming the cabinet this time, I included almost all the members of the LDP whom I ran against during the party election for president.
Also, as a result of the lessons I learned, this time my policy priorities have become very clear. This would include first and foremost restoring a robust economy. I believe this has resulted in the strong support that I am getting from the people.
Q: A number of people comment on your strong focus on the economy but also say that in your heart, the issues of history — and how Japan is perceived historically — is very important to you, so that eventually during your prime ministership those issues are bound to come out. I wonder if you could comment on that.
Abe: Regarding what happened in the past, much like my predecessors, I believe that we caused tremendous damage and suffering to the countries of Asia. That is why Japan has been providing support and assistance to the countries of Asia even from the days when Japan was still a poor country. And I believe that the path Japan has taken has been the correct path. In the postwar years, we have attached great importance to pursuing the principles of freedom, democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law. I believe that was also a correct path. That is why, as I said previously, we have been making a great effort to further promote these values.
My basic notion regarding the matter of historical recognition is basically, it’s a matter that should be left to the good hands of historians and experts. And this is a position that I have been taking consistently ever since the first Abe government. This is a point that I have been making consistently ever since my first term in office, as well as in Diet deliberations and interviews.
Q: So, if you’re going to leave it to historians, does that mean you will let the statements of 1993 and 1995 stand as is? Or should there ultimately be a review of them?