Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became Japan's longest-serving prime minister since World War II on Saturday, surpassing Eisaku Sato's 2,798 days in office. Saturday was his 2,799th as prime minister, including a year in power that ended in September 2007.
Abe's term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) expires in September 2021, and he is likely to rank with Taro Katsura's record of 2,886 days in office on Nov. 19 this year.
Since making a comeback as prime minister in 2012, Abe has remained in office for a long time, placing top priority on the economy under his administration. Some observers said Abe has been able to maintain a long-running premiership because of the existence of "many weak opposition parties" that have failed to show any obvious points of contention, as well as the absence of a potential successor to Abe within the LDP.
At the Group of 7 summit in France this weekend, Abe and President Donald Trump reached a possible breakthrough on a trade deal. "We've been working on a deal with Japan for a long time. And we've agreed in principle," Trump told reporters.
The Japanese described the deal more cautiously.
"We still have some remaining work that has to be done at the working level," Abe said, but he confirmed that his country planned to increase its purchases of U.S. corn.
Both countries said they hoped to finalize the agreement by next month's United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Japan News-Yomiuri and Los Angeles Times