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Japanese PM announces resignation
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Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced his decision to resign on Monday.

At a hastily-summoned press conference at the prime minister's official residence in the evening, Fukuda said he met a lot of difficulties in his term and called for a new framework to implement policies.

Photo taken on August 1, 2008 shows Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda attending a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo, capital of Japan. Yasuo Fukuda announced his resignation at a press conference in Tokyo on Sept. 1, 2008.[Xinhua Photo] 

The prime minister, who has been beset by sluggish support rate, said he made the decision to resign over the weekend and believed that now is the best time to resign to avoid a political vacuum.

In retrospect, Fukuda said he stepped into power in the very tough situation of the opposition bloc's control of the Upper House of the Diet and has been plagued by scandals such as party members' misuse of political funds and government agency's loss of huge number of pension records since the first day of his term.

Fukuda said he has implemented reforms in a modest and pragmatic manner, setting direction for the future. To better deal with the severe economic situation, he reshuffled the Cabinet in early August and publicized a set of comprehensive economic policies last week.

Fukuda expressed his confidence that his work in the past year will be a strong basis for future significant progress.

Fukuda said his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will hold a party presidential election to pick his successor.

Fukuda's abrupt resignation sent shockwaves across the nation. The opposition bloc and business associations criticized that it's irresponsible for Fukuda to resign shortly prior to the upcoming extraordinary Diet session.

According to Japanese law, the ruling party's president will naturally become leader of the government.

Fukuda was elected president of the LDP and assumed the post of prime minister last September.

Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (L) leaves his official residence after attending a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 1, 2008. Yasuo Fukuda announced his resignation at the press conference on Monday. [Xinhua Photo] 

(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2008)

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