Jumping In on the Assassination of Japanese Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Boston University Professor Bill Grimes (The Jedburgh Podcast Short-Form Series)

Japan’s former Prime minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on July 8. Japan is one of the world’s safest countries, has some of the strictest gun laws and has lived by a culture of pacifism since the end of WWII.  

Fran Racioppi asked Boston University Professor Bill Grimes to join him for a conversation on Prime Minister Abe, his conservative policies on national defense and economics, his place in Japan’s history of charismatic leaders, and where Japan goes from here internationally and domestically. 

Professor Grimes teaches international relations and political sciences, has authored a number of books on Japanese politics and economics, and has served in the Japanese Ministry of Finance and at the Bank of Japan. 

Learn more on The Jedburgh Podcast Website and check out our video YouTube versions of all episodes here.


-Professor Grimes expects Prime Minister Abe’s policies on nationalism, military defense and his economic program called Abenomics to continue. 

-Japan is one of the safest countries in the world with less than ten gun violence deaths per year in a population of 127 million people.

-Fran asks Bill to break down Japanese military capability following the WWII policy of pacifism and how Prime Minister Abe pushed to expand Japanese defensive military capability.  

-Prime Minister Abe was keen on preventing Chinese encroachment in the region but also maintaining China as a strategic trade partner. 

-Bill shares why Japan is critical to US influence in the Asia-Pacific region across economic, political and defense fronts; including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

-Fran challenges Professor Grimes to define what it takes to be a great world leader.

-Bill provides the lesson of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and how just being a good person was the key to his success.


-”The Abe that we see after say 2013-2014 was a pragmatist, an internationalist.”

-”The basic story of Abe doesn’t disappear.”

-”Until China really started its naval build-up 10-15 years ago, Japan had arguably the second-most capable navy in the entire world.”

-”This goes way back with this desire to prevent Chinese encroachment and pressure.”

-”Japan is absolutely the linchpin of US Asia-Pacific strategy.”

-”Japan is becoming economically weaker relative to China.”

-”He learned…that’s not that easy to do…Learning is extraordinarily important.”

-“He was an extremely effective inside player.” 

-”He was the one person in Japan…who had both the inside game and the outside game.”

-”Over eight years you make enough incremental change you changed the country.”

This episode is brought to you by Jersey Mike’s, 18A Fitness, & Analytix Solutions.