Prime Minister of Japan Resigns

1 09 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan abruptly announced his resignation on Monday, ending a short-lived and unpopular government marred by political paralysis.

Mr. Fukuda’s sudden departure, announced at a hastily called news conference on Monday night, seemed to catch his country by surprise. It also appeared to plunge the world’s second-largest economy into further political confusion, coming after the equally sudden resignation last year of Mr. Fukuda’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe.

Mr. Fukuda’s decision was particularly unexpected because he came to office last September as a veteran political insider widely counted on to bring stability after Mr. Abe’s hasty departure. In the end, Mr. Fukuda, 72, lasted about as long as Mr. Abe — roughly a year.

Mr. Fukuda explained his decision at the news conference by saying that Japan needed “a new team to carry out policies.” This was an apparent reference to his government’s inability to pass legislation in a divided Parliament where the opposition party controls the upper house.




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