Japanese PM Backtracks From Hints He'll Quit

Abe ignores calls for resignation, says he'll stay to enact reforms
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2007 7:14 PM CDT
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows before delivering a keynote speech at the opening of the 62-day extraordinary session at Parliament in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 10, 2007. Abe tried to rally backing...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Shinzo Abe has backed off his threat to quit if Japan yanks aid to US-led troops in Afghanistan. Many clamored for the beleaguered PM to step down after his party’s defeat in July elections, and Abe hinted yesterday that he'd walk away—a possible indication that he was looking for a respectable out, the BBC reports.

“I decided to stay on out of my sheer belief that we must not stop this reform,” Abe told parliament today. He also reiterated support for the Afghanistan operation—which provides naval support only—saying it was Japan's obligation to the international community. Critics, however, say the mission violates the country's pacifist constitution.