The election of Shinzo Abe as leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP) is a portent of growing tensions between Japan and China. The retiring prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, who Abe will succeed next Tuesday, has presided over a steady deterioration of relations with China. Abe, however, is a different kettle of fish altogether. Koizumi was not rooted in Japan's rightwing nationalist tradition: he was a pragmatist and a populist. Abe, in contrast, is a rightwing nationalist.