Scandal Plagued Japanese Prime Minister Quits

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resigned suddenly.

The bolt out of the blue came after last month's cabinet reshuffle failed to increase support among the people and a continuing parliamentary stalemate regarding the deployment of the Japanese navy to assist the United States with operations in Afghanistan:

The hawkish Abe, who took office promising to boost Japan's global security profile, had seen his clout dwindle after a drubbing in upper house elections in July, but the announcement came as a bolt out of the blue.

"I determined today that I should resign," a weary-looking Abe told a news conference.

Senior officials said health was a factor in the decision but Abe said he was going because a new prime minister would be better able to resolve a deadlock over extending a controversial mission to support U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan.
There is opposition to the deployment from leftist deputies but also others who are fearful that it means abandoning the long time Japanese tradition of not deploying its military overseas. Abe aggressively argued that Japan's status as an economic superpower meant that it had security obligations outside of Japan as well.

But Abe angered many Asians by his seeming to downplay many Japanese atrocities in China, the Philippines, and elsewhere. He dismissed the idea that "comfort women" - sex slaves used by the Japenese army in WW II - were coerced. And there was some backsliding in the way Japan was educating its younger people about war atrocities with textbooks excusing Japanese aggression. 

However, it was the numerous scandals that touched his administration - including one that resulted in the suicide of one of his ministers - that probably doomed his tenure in office.

Abe's political party has set September 19 as the date to elect a new party leader and replace Abe as Prime Minister. It is thought that there will be very little concrete changes as a result of the handover in either economic or foreign policy.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resigned suddenly.

The bolt out of the blue came after last month's cabinet reshuffle failed to increase support among the people and a continuing parliamentary stalemate regarding the deployment of the Japanese navy to assist the United States with operations in Afghanistan:

The hawkish Abe, who took office promising to boost Japan's global security profile, had seen his clout dwindle after a drubbing in upper house elections in July, but the announcement came as a bolt out of the blue.

"I determined today that I should resign," a weary-looking Abe told a news conference.

Senior officials said health was a factor in the decision but Abe said he was going because a new prime minister would be better able to resolve a deadlock over extending a controversial mission to support U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan.
There is opposition to the deployment from leftist deputies but also others who are fearful that it means abandoning the long time Japanese tradition of not deploying its military overseas. Abe aggressively argued that Japan's status as an economic superpower meant that it had security obligations outside of Japan as well.

But Abe angered many Asians by his seeming to downplay many Japanese atrocities in China, the Philippines, and elsewhere. He dismissed the idea that "comfort women" - sex slaves used by the Japenese army in WW II - were coerced. And there was some backsliding in the way Japan was educating its younger people about war atrocities with textbooks excusing Japanese aggression. 

However, it was the numerous scandals that touched his administration - including one that resulted in the suicide of one of his ministers - that probably doomed his tenure in office.

Abe's political party has set September 19 as the date to elect a new party leader and replace Abe as Prime Minister. It is thought that there will be very little concrete changes as a result of the handover in either economic or foreign policy.