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Abe shows staying power as Japan's third-longest-serving leader

Spurring the economy, halting population decline still on his to-do list

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

TOKYO -- Shinzo Abe marks 1,980 days as Japanese prime minister Saturday, tying him with predecessor Junichiro Koizumi as the third-longest-serving leader of the postwar era.

Abe will have third place to himself Sunday, behind only Shigeru Yoshida at 2,616 days and Eisaku Sato at 2,798. The tally includes Abe's first stint as prime minister, back in 2006 and 2007.

He and Koizumi have in common a governing style where political affairs are led by the prime minister and the cabinet rather than bureaucrats. But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga played up their differences in a news conference Friday.

In getting legislation through the Diet, "Mr. Koizumi pressed forward while confronting opposition, but Prime Minister Abe builds consensus within the party through explanation," Suga said.

He mentioned economic revitalization, the creation of a more vibrant society, and security against North Korea and other threats as issues for the Abe government going forward.

"The most important thing is not how long an administration lasts, but what it has done," he said.


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