Son-in-law of KISHI NOBUSUKE, Abe in 1986 took over what had been the Kishi faction from FUKUDA TAKEO, and was one of four principal faction leaders in the LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP) from then until his death in 1991.
Born in Yamaguchi in 1924, he graduated from Tokyo University and became a journalist soon after the war. In 1958 he was first elected to the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES for a Yamaguchi constituency. His first Cabinet position was that of Agriculture Minister in the MIKI Government (1974-6). He then became Chief Cabinet Secretary in the Government of his faction leader, Fukuda, in 1977-8. He was later Minister of Trade and Industry under SUZUKI in 1981-2. In November 1982 he entered the primary elections for the LDP presidency and came third out of four candidates, with a mere 8.28 per cent of the vote. NAKASONE YASUHIRO, however, the victor in that contest, made him Foreign Minister, a post in which he remained between November 1982 and July 1986. As Foreign Minister to a Prime Minister dedicated to activism on the world stage, Abe made many international trips; he was in frequent touch with world leaders such as President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. He also explored the implications of the emergence of the Gorbachev regime in the USSR.
He served at various times in senior party positions, including that of Secretary-General. Like other faction leaders, he was implicated in the RECRUIT SCANDAL of 1989.
At about this time he became ill with cancer and died in May 1991.
The practice of administrative guidance has been a controversial method of bureaucratic control that used to be a central method in the management of the economy. By some, it has been criticised as undemocratic interference in the sovereignty of the people's elected representatives in Parliament. Others have seen it as one of the key instruments of the Japanese economic 'miracle'. Foreign governments and businesses have pilloried it as an obstacle to free trade.
In fact, administrative guidance was a product of the particular circumstances of the 1960s, and has declined greatly in importance since the 1980s. From the late 1940s until the early 1960s the Japanese economy was essentially an administered economy. Government-meaning for the most part Government ministries-had at their disposal a comprehensive range of legal controls affecting much of what industry was able to do. If a firm wanted to move into a new area of manufacture, was reluctant to merge with another firm, needed foreign exchange, or could be accused of 'dumping' in foreign markets, it was liable to regulatory action sanctioned by law. The same went for 'excessive competition' in an industry, something not normally well regarded by Government officials. By the early 1960s,