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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 September 12 - 18  > Prime Minister Abe to resign with no reflection on his government
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2007 September 12 - 18 [POLITICS]

Prime Minister Abe to resign with no reflection on his government

September 13, 2007
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at a press conference on September 12 abruptly announced that he will step down, giving a big shock to the whole nation.

With the ruling parties suffering a bitter defeat in the July House of Councilors election, the public demanded Abe’s resignation. But he has held on to his post since then.

At the press conference, citing difficulties in continuing Japan’s refueling operations in the Indian Ocean which he promised U.S. President Bush, he said that he is resigning to help change the situation favorably.

It is outrageous for Abe, who has no choice but to step down, to try to impose his adverse policies on the public in return for his resignation. Thus, he refuses to reflect on his policies right to the end of his tenure.

At the end of political degeneration

It is unprecedented that a prime minister, while clinging to his post, reshuffled his cabinet, delivered a policy speech, and yet announced his resignation just before a round of representative interpellations on his policy speech was about to start. Whatever excuses he may find, Abe’s act is nothing but abandoning the government in an extremely irresponsible manner for a prime minister.

The prime minister has been urged to resign since his devastating defeat in the election because the public said “No” to his policies of “structural reform” that are based on the law of the jungle and of imposing constitutional revision on the public under the slogan of “breaking away from the postwar regime” in addition to the loss of confidence due to pension mismanagement and scandals involving cabinet ministers. It is safe to say that the failure of the LDP-Komei policy framework has led Abe to resign.

In the past, faced with such a severe judgment of the public, the LDP would try to keep its government alive by replacing the prime minister or reviewing its policy line to some extent. Prime Minister Abe, however, simply gives up his power without even trying to address the problem. How far the LDP’s degeneration has gone! Abe’s resignation shows that the party is on the verge of collapse.

Abe has given up the government command because he cannot get what he wishes for. The reason he gave for his resignation was that he wanted to change the situation to overcome the difficulties in continuing Japan’s assistance to the U.S. in its war. Obviously, he has failed to reflect on his policies that go against the popular will as shown in the election.

In his policy speech delivered on September 10, Abe high-handedly expressed his intention to cling to the post on the grounds of pushing the policies of “structural reform” and the “breaking away from the postwar regime.”

He even declared that he will stake his prime ministership on the fulfillment of the promise with Bush. Abe’s choice to resign in order to fulfill the promise, therefore, amounts to an acknowledgement of the fact that he denies his responsibility towards the Japanese public.

Drastic rectification needed

Following Abe’s announcement, the LDP started an internal election to choose its president. The LDP plans to have the Diet appoint its new president as the prime minister, and he will then form a new cabinet. However, handing over political power within the LDP with no change in the political framework will further run counter to the popular will.

The task now is to fundamentally change the LDP-Komei Party policy framework of “structural reform” and “breaking away from the postwar regime.” It is far more important than before to explore ways for a new policy framework that will truly respond to public wishes.
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