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Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Resigns

Posted September. 13, 2007 03:25,   


Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced his resignation yesterday.

Abe held a press conference at his residence at 2 p.m. and said, “I decided to resign from office, taking responsibility for the confusion in national affairs.”

He also announced that he had asked the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to elect a successor as soon as possible in order to minimize the political vacuum.

Abe pointed to the renewal of the anti-terrorism law that allows Japan’s marine Self Defense Forces to carry out refueling operations in the Indian Ocean as the reason for his resignation.

He said that a new approach was needed in order to renew this law, which is indispensable for continuing the war against terror. Since the continuation of the refueling operation is an international pledge, he judged that it would be better for a new prime minister to persuade the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in place of himself.

He also disclosed his opinion that a successor would be better suited to attend the general conference of the UN scheduled for September 25.

Prime Minister Abe requested the leader of DPJ, Ichiro Ozawa, to have a chair-to-chair discussion for resolving the matter of the anti-terrorism law, but was turned down by Ozawa, who said, “The LDP is a party that neglects the people’s will.” This led the prime minister to make the decision to resign.

The LDP held an emergency executive meeting the same day and launched preparations for the election of a successor. Its plan is to announce election procedures on September 14 and to hold an election with the heads of local ministries and party members as voters on September 19.

After his historical defeat in the elections on July 27, Abe regime nevertheless implemented a 2nd term cabinet despite popular opinions about his resignation. But his influence was significantly diminished with continuing mischief, including the resignation of a cabinet member 8 days after his new start.

On September 9, while visiting Sydney, Australia, at a time when he was struggling against the opposition parties, including the DPJ, on the issue of the renewal of the anti-terrorism law, Prime Minister Abe had said he "would not cling to [his] position as Prime Minister" if he failed to renew the law.

In and around Japanese political circles, criticism was raised over the prime minister’s announcement to resign, saying that it was “the worst time to do so” or that it was “an irresponsible decision.”

Meanwhile, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano Kaoru gave his opinion that a health problem was the major cause of the Abe’s resignation announcement.