Abe becomes longest-serving Japan prime minister, legacy in focus
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Shinzo Abe became the longest-serving Japanese prime minister on Wednesday with a total of 2,887 days in office, breaking the previous record set by Taro Katsura over a century ago, Kyodo reports.
Despite his nearly eight-year run, critics say Abe is still short of major achievements that could go down in history. His ambitious goal of amending the pacifist Constitution is still far off, with no substantive progress having been made in the Diet since his return to power in 2012 following a short 2006-2007 stint.
A fractured opposition and the public's apparent preference for stability after tumultuous years under a Democratic Party of Japan-led government have allowed Abe to enjoy relatively stable support ratings hovering around 40 and 50 percent.
The 65-year-old premier has steadily cemented his grip on power due to his track record of consecutive national elections wins, facing no viable contenders within his own Liberal Democratic Party to challenge his leadership.
For the remainder of his current term until September 2021, Abe is expected to intensify his legacy quest at a time when a myriad of challenges lie ahead, most recently a cronyism controversy over a publicly funded cherry blossom viewing party.