Japanese Prime Minister Resigns

Scandals shatter public support for controversial leader
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2007 1:48 AM CDT
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds a nationally televised press conference in Tokyo Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007. Abe announced on Wednesday he would resign, ending a year-old government that has suffered...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced he'll resign today in the wake of several cabinet-level scandals and the suicide of  a top official that has destroyed public confidence in his administration. After taking power just last year, Abe's nationalist Liberal Democratic Party lost the upper house of parliament to the opposition party in July.

Abe had hoped to improve Japan's standing with its Asian neighbors and revamp the country's pacifist constitution so it could play a larger role in military affairs. His revisions have proved extremely controversial in a country still gun-shy after World War II, and some argue that the nation's role in the Iraq war—Japanese ships refuel coalition vessels in the Indian Ocean—violates the constitution.