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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 September 5 - 11  > In extremely irresponsible manner, Prime Minister Abe gives up Prime Ministership
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2007 September 5 - 11 [POLITICS]

In extremely irresponsible manner, Prime Minister Abe gives up Prime Ministership

September 13, 2007
All of a sudden, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at a press conference on September 12 stated his intention to resign, stating, “I should change the situation in order for Japan to continue to fight against terrorism.”

Only two days before, Abe delivered his policy speech in which he expressed his determination to hold on to power. It is unprecedented that a prime minister announces his intention to resign on the same day that a round of representative interpellations in the Diet is scheduled to start.

The Japanese Communist Party and other opposition parties severely criticized Abe’s irresponsible manner, and the ruling parties were shocked.

Prime Minister Abe gave up the prime ministership after 11 months, creating a great political vacuum. Representative interpellations in both Houses were cancelled, and Diet activities virtually have come to halt.

At the press conference, Abe cited difficulties in extending the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, which has enabled the Maritime Self-Defense Force to refuel U.S. warships in the Indian Ocean due to expire on November 1, as the reason for his resignation, stating, “I have decided to change the situation by taking responsibility.” He also said Democratic Party of Japan President Ozawa Ichiro’s rejection of talks with him triggered his decision.

In a separate press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano Kaoru hinted that Abe’s poor health has led him to resign.

Pushing his policies of “structural reform” and the “departure from the postwar regimes” centered on constitutional revision, Prime Minister Abe forcibly enacted such adverse laws as the constitutional revision procedure law and the new basic education law since he came to power in September last year. At the same time, he has stuck to his new growth strategy benefiting large corporations, ignoring the increasing poverty and social gaps. The severe public criticism of Abe’s basic policy line brought about a devastating defeat to the ruling parties in the July election and the ruling parties’ loss of their majority in the House of Councilors.

However, in defiance of the popular will, Abe held on to power, insisting, “My basic policies have support” and carried out a reshuffle of his cabinet in late August.

Due to corruption scandals involving cabinet ministers and their outrageous remarks, five members of the Abe cabinet were forced to resign in the past 11 months. The Abe cabinet has been faced with an impasse.
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