安倍首相の辞任について、メディアも様々なことを書いていますが、私は、次のReuter、New York TimesとWashington Postを見ました。
New York TimesとWashington Postは、登録が必要なはずで、一応続きを読むに入れておきます。
次のNew York Timesの記事に関連してですが、「Opposition politicians have suggested that Japan has refueled American vessels that were involved, not in Afghanistan, but in Iraq. In addition, they have said that Japan’s air force — which has been transporting American troops between Kuwait and Baghdad — has clearly overstepped its stated mission of engaging in humanitarian activities.」の部分ですね。テロ対策特別措置法延長にあたっては、この「イラク戦争に関係する艦艇への燃料補給疑惑」と「米軍の武器輸送従事疑惑」について否定する説明とその担保についてが、従来以上に国会で求められるのだろうなと思うのですが。
Washing Postの記事に関しては、「Though Aso is considered a front-runner to succeed Abe, it is not clear whether he has the political clout and popular support to stop the LDP's slide in popularity.」の「麻生幹事長が次の総理大臣になっても、自民党の任期下落を食い止めることが出来るのか不明である。」についてです。どなたが、次期総理大臣に就任されるか分かりませんが、自民党にとって相当厳しいだろうと思います。やはり、政界再編でしょうか？
New York Times
By NORIMITSU ONISHI
Published: September 12, 2007
TOKYO, Sept. 12 — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the nationalist leader whose vision of an unapologetically strong Japan sank amid scandals, incompetence and gaffes, announced today that he would step down.
The timing of the resignation took Japan by surprise. Even though Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party suffered a humiliating defeat in an upper house election over the summer, he had steadfastly refused to resign and had reshuffled his cabinet less than two weeks ago.
Mr. Abe’s resignation came only three days after the start of a current parliamentary session. In a speech at the start of the session on Monday and in news conferences, Mr. Abe had laid out plans for the future, including extending a law to allow Japan’s naval forces to participate in a mission in the Indian Ocean.
But as the parliamentary session started and the newly powerful main opposition Democratic Party showed no signs of yielding to Mr. Abe on this law, the situation looked increasingly bleak for Mr. Abe, and Japan’s media had already written him off.
“I determined that I should resign,” Mr. Abe said at a news conference this afternoon. Referring to the law on the Indian Ocean mission, he added: “We should seek a continued mission to fight terrorism under a new prime minister.”
Mr. Abe also said that he found it difficult to regain the public’s trust. His approval ratings, which had temporarily risen above 30 percent after his cabinet reshuffle, fell below that threshold again after Mr. Abe’s new agricultural minister resigned over misuse of public funds only a week after his appointment.
Japan is likely to enter a period of political flux with Mr. Abe’s departure.
Mr. Abe said he had instructed his party to choose a successor “as soon as possible.” Because his party has a huge majority in the lower house of Parliament, which selects the prime minister, the next prime minister will be a member of the Liberal Democratic Party.
The secretary general of the party, Taro Aso, who served as foreign minister until recently, is widely considered the front runner to succeed Mr. Abe.
Any successor would not have to dissolve parliament and call a general election until 2009, but will most likely face intense pressure to do so in the near future. The main opposition Democratic Party will be able to use its control of the upper house of Parliament to delay and block legislation, effectively forcing the governing party to call a general election and ask for a popular mandate.
The opposition leader, Ichiro Ozawa, has focused his attention on a contentious law that allows Japan’s naval forces to join a mission to refuel American and other ships participating in the war in Afghanistan. The law will expire on Nov. 1 unless it is extended.
The debate over the law is expected to be bruising. Opinion polls have shown that most Japanese opposed extending the law. And Mr. Ozawa tapped into a general unease that, under Mr. Abe and his predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, Japan had grown too close to the United States militarily, even to the point of possibly violating its pacifist Constitution.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Japan has passed special laws to circumvent its pacifist Constitution to participate in the American-led wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq. But the Japanese government has released few details about the nature of its assistance to the United States military, leading many opposition politicians to suggest that Japanese troops are in fact violating the Constitution.
Opposition politicians have suggested that Japan has refueled American vessels that were involved, not in Afghanistan, but in Iraq. In addition, they have said that Japan’s air force — which has been transporting American troops between Kuwait and Baghdad — has clearly overstepped its stated mission of engaging in humanitarian activities.
Opposition politicians are expected to use their new power in the upper house of Parliament to demand more information about these military missions.
By CHISAKI WATANABE
The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 12, 2007; 2:45 AM
TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Wednesday he will resign, ending a year-old government that has suffered a string of damaging scandals and a humiliating electoral defeat.
Abe, said he was quitting to pave the way for ruling and opposition parties to work together to approve the extension of Tokyo's naval mission in support of the U.S.-led operation in Afghanistan.
"In the present situation it is difficult to push ahead with effective policies that win the support and trust of the public," Abe said in a nationally televised news conference. "I have decided that we need a change in this situation."
Abe, a nationalist whose support rating has plunged to 30 percent, also cited the ruling party's defeat in July 29 elections, in which the opposition took control of the upper house of parliament.
The prime minister said he had instructed ruling party leaders to immediately search for a replacement, but he did not announce a date for his departure from office. His former foreign minister, Taro Aso, is considered a front-runner to replace him.
National broadcaster NHK reported the ruling Liberal Democratic Party was making arrangements to hold an election for a successor next week.
The sudden resignation came less than a month after Abe reshuffled his Cabinet in a bid to recover public support. He had been adamant that he would not step down to take responsibility for the LDP electoral defeat.
Abe announced his departure just as the government faced a battle in parliament over whether to extend the country's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. Just days earlier, he said he would quit if he failed to win parliamentary passage of legislation extending the mission.
On Wednesday, Abe suggested that his departure could aid bipartisan passage of the bill, citing the refusal of Ichiro Ozawa, head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, to meet with him.
"I have pondered how Japan should continue its fight against terrorism," Abe said Wednesday. "I now believe we need change. So Japan must continue its fight against terrorism under a new prime minister."
The United States has turned up the pressure on Japan to extend the mission. U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer met with Cabinet officials, including Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, earlier Wednesday to make Washington's case for extension.
The plenary session of the lower house was to be delayed until at least Friday, and the opposition criticized Abe for quitting just as the session was to heat up.
"He remained in office after the ruling party lost a majority ... (but) today, he expressed his resignation right before parliamentary questioning," said opposition leader Ozawa. "I've been a politician for nearly 40 years, but I think this is the first time."
Abe's resignation marked a rapid fall from power for a prime minister who came into office a year ago with ambitious plans to repair frayed relations with Asian neighbors, revise the 1947 pacifist constitution, and bolster Japan's role in international diplomatic and military affairs.
The prime minister, whose grandfather was premier and whose father was a foreign minister, initially met with success in fence-mending trips last autumn to China and South Korea. He also passed laws bolstering patriotic education and upgrading the Defense Agency to a full ministry for the first time since World War II.
But a string of scandals starting late last year quickly eroded his support. Four Cabinet ministers were forced to resign over the past nine months, and one _ his first agriculture minister _ committed suicide over a money scandal.
Support for the political blue-blood was also damaged by his concentration on ideological issues _ such as patriotism and constitutional reform _ at a time when many Japanese are concerned over the widening gap between rich and poor and other bread-and-butter worries.
In such a weakened state, Abe may have feared he wouldn't have the clout to win passage of the Afghan mission, said Eiken Itagaki, a political analyst and writer.
"He has run out of political capital," Itagaki said. "So he bolted, in the hope that a more experienced successor can save the mission, and sort out the mess."
It also was a sharp reversal of fortunes for the ruling party, which has controlled Japan almost uninterruptedly since it was formed in 1955. Abe succeeded the wildly popular Junichiro Koizumi, who led the LDP to a landslide victory in elections for the powerful lower house in 2005.
Though Aso is considered a front-runner to succeed Abe, it is not clear whether he has the political clout and popular support to stop the LDP's slide in popularity.