TOKYO, Sept 1 Unpopular Japanese Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda said on Monday that he had decided to resign in an
effort to break a political deadlock.
Fukuda has been struggling to cope with a divided parliament
where the opposition parties control the upper house and can
"If we are to prioritise the people's livelihoods, there
cannot be a political vacuum from political bargaining, or a
lapse in policies. We need a new team to carry out policies,"
Speculation has been simmering that the unpopular prime
minister might be replaced ahead of a general election that must
be held by September 2009.
Fukuda's resignation does not automatically mean an election.
His party, the Liberal Democratic Party, must pick a new leader
and win the confidence of parliament's lower house if it wants to
carry on leading Japan's coalition government.
(Reporting by Linda Sieg and Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Rodney