9/04/2008

Japan: Get someone else

Yasuo Fukuda quits as prime minister of Japan, as the country struggles to find stable leadership

IT HAD been the wish of Japan’s 72-year-old prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), to outlast his hapless predecessor, Shinzo Abe, whom he privately despised. He was supposed to provide a steady hand on the helm after Mr Abe’s poor performance. But Mr Fukuda did not manage even Mr Abe’s year in office. On Monday September 1st the prime minister announced his resignation, saying bluntly that “I thought it would be better for someone else to do the job”.

From the start, he had struggled in the face of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) which had won unprecedented control of the upper house of the Diet (parliament). Important legislation was rammed through the Diet thanks only to the two-third’s majority enjoyed by the ruling coalition in the lower house. Most notable was a bill renewing the Japanese navy’s refuelling mission in the Indian Ocean, a part of the anti-terror effort in Afghanistan and thus a gauge of Japan’s willingness to play a part in the world. ...



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[Source: The Economist: News analysis -

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