The surprise resignation of Yasuo Fukuda has prompted fears of a political vacuum in Japan. The 72-year-old, who took office last September, was seen as a safe pair of hands after his predecessor Shinzo Abe.
However, questions over his perceived dull leadership style have blighted Fukuda since taking office. Deeply unpopular with the Japanese electorate, he is also been thwarted by a divided parliament where the opposition controls the upper house. While a cabinet resuffle last month gave him a temporary reprieve, it also promoted Taro Aso, who is now seen as Fukadu’s most likely successor.
There are now worries that the resignation could push Japan into an economic downturn. With the economy shrinking in the last quarter, the same again would qualify as a recession. And, analysts are already predicting a negative impact on Japanese shares and the value of the Yen against other currencies following the sudden decision.