FORMER Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead during a political campaign on July 8, 2022.
Abe leaves behind his wife Akie.
Who is Akie Abe?
Akie Abe (nee Matsuzaki) is a wealthy socialite whose father was the president of Morinaga & Co – one of the largest confectionary companies in Japan.
Born June 10, 1962, Akie was educated at private schools and graduated from Sacred Heart Professional Training College.
In 2011, she got a master’s degree in social design studies from Rikkyo University.
She worked for advertising agency Dentsu Inc. before becoming a radio DJ in her hometown of Shimonoseki in the late 90s.
Known as Akky on the radio, she was popular for her outspoken views while her husband was Prime Minister.
Her views sometimes contradicted those of Shinzo, gaining the nickname the “domestic opposition party.”
The following year she was photographed in a cannabis plant field to promote the revival of cannabis culture in Japan.
When did Shinzo and Akie Abe get married?
While it is not known how the pair met, Shinzo and Akie were married in 1987.
Shinzo had begun to pursue his political career at this point, although it would be another 19 years before he would become Prime Minister.
Akie did not have an official political role other than spouse of the Prime Minister but she was very active on social media.
When in office, the Abes became connected to a scandal involving Akie’s close relationship with the Moritomo Gakuen kindergarten in Osaka.
She was named honorary principal of an elementary school under development by Moritomo Gakuen but resigned in 2017 when it was discovered the land was purchased for 14% of its appraisal value.
The scandal did not stop Shinzo being re-elected for a fourth term as Prime Minister in 2017, but he stepped down in 2020 over health issues.
While in office, Shinzo developed a close relationship with Donald Trump and was known for conservative right-wing policies.
Shinzo was the longest serving Prime Minister of Japan, retiring in 2020 due to health issues.
On July 8, 2022, Shinzo was shot twice in the back and collapsed while giving a speech during an election campaign.
Abe was rushed to hospital but died later the same day.
How many children does Shinzo Abe have?
In the early years of their marriage Shinzo and Akie underwent fertility treatments.
This was unsuccessful and the couple have no children.
Their struggle to conceive was revealed in a frank interview with Bungei Shunju magazine in 2006.
She said: “At the early stage, I did go through fertility treatment.
“But I think that I should accept my fate that I am the wife of a politician who became prime minister, and that we did not have the gift of having children.”
Akie had been encouraging the Japanese to have more children to tackle the declining birth rate.
She shared that she felt pressure to have a child in a family of third generation politicians.
When speaking of adoption, Akie explained it simply wasn’t very common in Japan and noted it was much more usual in America.