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Monday, 1st September 2008
In General Japan News,

Japanese PM resigns

The Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda has sensationally resigned after less than a year in office.

Mr Fukuda, 72, has seen his popularity tumble after his administration introduced a highly criticised medical plan for the elderly, reports CNN Asia.

The government had defended the medical plan, which included raising premiums for those over the age of 75, saying it was necessary to deal with one of the world's largest ageing populations.

In a statement to the Kyodo National News Agency, he commented: "It is necessary to try to implement measures under a new framework I thought now is the best time [to resign] to avoid a political vacuum."

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which Mr Fukuda had been head of, will now hold an election to find his successor.

Despite recently reshuffling his cabinet, Mr Fukuda's standing failed to revive and was dealt a further blow by a slowing Japanese economy.

Before becoming prime minister, Mr Fukuda was the longest-serving chief cabinet secretary in the history of Japanese politics.