HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) – In 1883 German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote of a character he called âthe last manâ. The opposite of his ideal âUbermenschâ, last men are so enervated and addicted to comfort, they lose their ability to dream and their will to compete. To Japanese conservatives, Nietzsche might have been describing Japan during the lost decades that followed the bursting of its financial bubble in the early 1990s: a pacifist, embarrassed, ageing irrelevance overshadowed by rising China. Until Shinzo Abe came along.
In âThe Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japanâ Tobias Harris delivers an engaging review of the extraordinary career of Japanâs longest-serving prime minister. He was the heir to a conservative political dynasty, he dragged the country out of deflation, partially remilitarised it, and reconfigured the state in the process. Harris, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence who briefly served as private secretary to