Japan from the inside out

Breaking news: Abe to resign

Posted by ampontan on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NHK IS REPORTING that Prime Minister Abe intends to resign and will not attend a Diet interpellation this afternoon. He will give a press conference at 2:00 p.m. to explain his decision.

This was unexpected–to say the least–and the media is already aflame with speculation. His political opponents already are scathing in their criticism, without having heard the reasons. This is not unexpected, to say the least.

I’ve long thought that one of the problems with news in the mass media is an excessive concentration on immediacy. I try to avoid comment that I consider to be the equivalent of taking a person’s temperature every day, regardless of that person’s state of health. (Most of the day-to-day chattering is laughably wrong, as a look at political commentary published in newspapers a few years ago will reveal. Try Googling the articles on former Prime Minister Koizumi that appeared throughout his term in office and you’ll see what I mean.)

That’s why, as much as possible, I try to write posts with political content from a less immediate perspective.

And that’s why I won’t write about this until the situation becomes much clearer.

UPDATE: After watching Mr. Abe’s press conference and his explanation for resigning, my impression can be summed up in the Japanese phrase, fu ni ochinai.

Literally, that means “(It) doesn’t fall into the bowels”, and it’s used for things people find difficult to understand. It also has the nuance that something doesn’t make sense, not least in this case because he has to know he’s going to get raked hellaciously over the coals by friend and foe alike.

And Ichiro Ozawa, the head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, just said at his press conference that he didn’t understand Mr. Abe’s state of mind either!

I suspect there’s more to this, but if there is, we’re not going to find out today…

6 Responses to “Breaking news: Abe to resign”

  1. Durf said

    The reasons mentioned so far for this decision strike me as odd, to say the least. I’ll be watching the press conference in about 10 minutes to see what the man has to say for himself.

  2. […] Breaking news: Abe to resign – Ampontan […]

  3. […] You can read more reactions to this news over at Japan Probe, Japundit, & Ampontan. […]

  4. Lin said

    I’m writing from the BBC radio programme World Have Your Say which is broadcast at 6 p.m. in London. Today on the show we’re discussing the sudden resignation of the Japanese PM. I’m curious to see if you’d like to share your views on what this means to the country and the political mood it has set. You can contact me at

  5. Topcat said

    Just for your info.

  6. ampontan said

    Thanks for that, Topcat.

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