TOKYO, JAPANAUGUST 28, 2020SOURCE: AFPTV
1. Mid shot people crossing intersection
2. SOUNDBITE 1 - Rie Maruoka, part time worker (female, 61 years old, Japanese, 6 sec): "I didn't really trust Mr Abe personally, to be honest."
3. Cutaway: Mid shot people using mobile phone
4. SOUNDBITE 2 - Tetsuya Daimon, visitor from Osaka (male, 54 years old, Japanese, 9 sec): "He has been in the prime minister's office way too long. I don't want to see his face honestly. Seven years and eight months, too long!"
5. Cutaway: Mid shot Shibuya intersection
6. SOUNDBITE 3 - Tetsuya Daimon, visitor from Osaka (male, 54 years old, Japanese, 12 sec): "There are been too many scandals around him, like the former justice minister (over bribery allegation) and his cherry blossom party (for inappropriate use of tax money). These scandals keep coming up because there is something wrong with his administration."
7. Cutaway: Mid shot women taking selfies
8. SOUNDBITE 4 - Katsumi Abe, company employee (male, 48 years old, Japanese, 12 sec): "He can't work because of the ulcerative colitis. But I have the impression that this illness is often used for the sake of convenience. Is this really the reason (for his resignation)? That is how I feel."
9. Cutaway: Mid shot woman standing at intersection
10. Mid shot people crossing intersection
///-----------------------------------------------------------2 DEPECHES DE CONTEXTE:
newseriesJapan's PM Abe resigning for health reasons By Miwa SUZUKI, Hiroshi HIYAMA
ATTENTION - ADDS quote ///Tokyo, Aug 28, 2020 (AFP) - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Friday he will resign, ending his record-breaking tenure in a bombshell development that kicks off a leadership race in the world's third-largest economy.Abe said he is suffering a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis that forced him to cut short a first term in office, and that he no longer felt able to continue as prime minister."Now that I am not able to fulfil the mandate from the people with confidence, I have decided that I should no longer occupy the position of the prime minister," he said.While speculation about Abe's political future has grown in recent weeks, after two hospital visits for unspecified health checks, the resignation nonetheless came as a surprise.Even as recently as Friday morning, the government spokesman had appeared to dismiss concerns about Abe's health and suggested he would stay on.But Abe made clear that would not be possible, apologising for once again cutting short his tenure."I would like to sincerely apologise to the people of Japan for leaving my post with one year left in my term of office, and amid the coronavirus woes," he said, bowing deeply.
- 'A big surprise' -
Abe said he would "firmly execute my duty to the end", and until the next prime minister is appointed, possibly through a leadership election involving ruling party lawmakers and members.The resignation shocked the markets, with Tokyo stocks plunging more than two percent towards the end of afternoon trade when reports of Abe's decision first emerged."It was a big surprise", said Shinichi Nishikawa, a professor of political science at Meiji University in Tokyo."His resignation comes at a time when Japan is facing tough issues, including measures against the coronavirus," Nishikawa told AFP."Abe had been expected to stay in office until the end of his term as LDP leader in September 2021, and the jockeying for position to succeed him was still in its early stages.Still, some potential successors have already emerged, among them Finance Minister Taro Aso, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba and LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida.Kishida is rumoured to be Abe's personal choice, while Aso commands one of the strongest blocs within the ruling party.Most of the potential successors are seen as unlikely to break significantly with Abe's policies.
- Bitterly familiar decision -
Abe declined to be drawn on who he would like to see take the top job, saying he had "no intention" of influencing the election, and that those often floated as candidates were all "highly capable".Experts said the election process was likely to happen in the coming weeks, with a new parliamentary session possible by October. Abe's decision to step down will be bitterly familiar for the man who was forced to leave office just one year after becoming the country's youngest-ever prime minister.He has since become Japan's longest-serving premier, forever associated with the economic policy that bears his name: Abenomics.He said his legacy would be for others to decide but pointed to his efforts to bring Barack Obama to Hiroshima, making him the first sitting US president to visit the site of the atomic bomb attack, as among his proudest achievements.Among his greatest disappointments, he said, was his inability to bring home Japanese people kidnapped by North Korea decades ago.Tributes poured in from leaders around the world, with the Kremlin hailing Abe's "invaluable contribution" to relations. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted he had "achieved great things".A spokesman for the presidential Blue House in Seoul praised Abe for his "many meaningful achievements".China was more circumspect, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying the resignation was an "internal affair" on which it would not comment.Abe's time in office will end with his government facing slumping approval ratings over its handling of the coronavirus crisis, including a U-turn on stimulus and a widely-mocked policy to issue cloth face masks to every household.Some in Tokyo were quick to criticise Abe after his resignation was announced."He has been in the prime minister's office way too long. I don't want to see his face honestly. Seven years and eight months, too long!" said Tetsuya Daimon, 54."There have been too many scandals around him... (they) keep coming up because there is something wrong with his administration."Abe's departure also means he will not be in charge as the country prepares to host the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics next year.mis-hih-si/sah/tom/qan
PROFILEShinzo Abe: political survivor dogged by health issues By Shingo ITO, Sara HUSSEIN
Tokyo, Aug 28, 2020 (AFP) - Shinzo Abe has smashed records as Japan's longest-serving prime minister, championing ambitious economic reform while weathering scandals. But he has once again been undone by his health.After more than seven years in the job, Abe, 65, said Friday he would be stepping down because of a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis that forced him from office during his first stint as premier.He had been due to stay on until September 2021, when his party presidency terms ends, giving him an opportunity to see out one final event in his historic tenure -- the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.A sprightly 52 years old when he first became prime minister in 2006, Abe was the youngest person ever to occupy the job, and was seen as a symbol of change and youth.But in a country that sets much store by tradition, he also brought the pedigree of a third-generation politician groomed from birth by an elite, conservative family.His first term was turbulent; shot through with scandals and discord, and capped by an abrupt resignation that made him the latest in a succession of short-lived Japanese prime ministers.After initially suggesting he was stepping down for political reasons, he subsequently acknowledged he was suffering an ailment later diagnosed as ulcerative colitis.The debilitating bowel condition necessitated months of treatment, but was, he said, eventually overcome with the help of new medication.The revolving prime ministerial door brought him back to office in 2012 -- and, until Friday, had stayed shut for an unusually long time.With Japan still staggering from the effects of the 2011 tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster at Fukushima -- and with its inexperienced government lashed for flip-flopping and incompetence -- the wily veteran offered a seemingly safe pair of hands.He also had a plan. He called it Abenomics.The scheme to revive Japan's long-stalled economy -- still the world's third biggest, but more than two decades into stagnation -- involved vast government spending, massive monetary easing and the cutting of red tape.He also sought to boost the country's flagging birth rate by making workplaces more friendly to parents, particularly mothers, and pushed through controversial consumption tax hikes partially intended to help fund free nursery school places for children, and plug gaps in Japan's overstretched social security system.While there was some progress with reform, the bigger structural problems for the economy never really went away. Abenomics was not enough to right the deflation that has beset Japan for decades, and growth has remained anaemic.The economy had swung into reverse even before the coronavirus crisis wiped out remaining gains.Abe's star has waned further in recent months with his pandemic handling criticised as confused and slow, driving his approval ratings down to some of the lowest of his tenure.
- Mixed record -
On the international stage, he has taken a hard line on North Korea, but sought a peacemaker role between the US and Iran.He prioritised building a close personal relationship with Donald Trump in a bid to protect Japan's key alliance, despite the US president's "America First" mantra, and tried to heal ties with Russia and China.But here too the scorecard is mixed: Trump is reportedly still eager to force Japan to pay more for US troops stationed in the country; Tokyo has failed to make progress in resolving the status of northern islands disputed with Russia, and a plan to invite Xi Jinping for a state visit has fallen by the wayside amid growing domestic discontent with Beijing.And while Abe has not repeated a 2013 visit to a controversial war shrine that sparked regional anger and even a US rebuke, he has pursued a hard line with South Korea over unresolved wartime disputes and continued to float plans to revise the country's pacifist constitution.Throughout his tenure, he has weathered political storms including cronyism allegations that have dented his approval ratings, but done little to affect his power, in part thanks to the weakness of Japan's political opposition.But even faced with a paucity of alternatives, many voters have tired of Abe.Speaking to AFP on the streets of Tokyo, Tetsuya Daimon lamented a litany of scandals, and said it was time for Abe to go."He has been in the prime minister's office way too long," said Daimon."I don't want to see his face, honestly. Seven years and eight months, too long!"si-sah/hg