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Japan in limbo after Prime Minister resigns

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Japan in limbo after Prime Minister resigns

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Under-fire Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has resigned after repeatedly insisting he would not step down. His Liberal Democratic party, which lost control of the upper house of parliament in July, was embroiled in a row over pensions and there have been a series of financial scandals involving cabinet ministers.

At the weekend Abe indicated he might step down if he failed to get a Japanese naval mission supporting US-led operations in Afghanistan extended. Opposition politicians were planning to grill him in parliament today. But this morning he told a news conference: “I determined today that I should resign. We should seek a continued mission to fight terrorism under a new prime minister.”

It is thought Abe, who took office a year ago promising to boost Japan’s global security profile, believes his resignation will help push the move through. LDP Secretary-General Taro Aso, is seen as a frontrunner to succeed Abe. The yen and stocks slipped on concerns about political uncertainty