BEIJING, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Japan's main opposition party elected former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as its new leader on Wednesday, offering him another chance at the premiership.
The victory of Abe, a traditional security hawk, might have far-reaching implications on the increasingly tense relations between his country and its neighbors.
Since the Japanese farce of "purchasing" China's Diaoyu Islands plunged the bilateral relationship to its lowest point in years, all contenders in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) race have struck hawkish tones.
Abe is highly vocal in urging Tokyo to take a tougher line in its territorial disputes with China and South Korea. In a speech delivered Tuesday, he even spoke of the need to stand up to Beijing.
Days ago, another LDP candidate, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, said that Japan should turn Self-Defense Forces into "national defense forces" and exercise the right of collective self-defense.
It is no wonder that The Washington Post, a major U.S. newspaper, warned in a recent front-page story that Japan is in the midst of "a gradual but significant shift to the right" and acts more confrontationally in the region than at any time since World War II.
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