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Abe bows to the flag before resigning. Photo: Franck Robichon - Pool/Getty Images

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party will gather in mid-September to elect a successor to Shinzo Abe as its leader and the country’s prime minister.

Driving the news: Abe announced his resignation on Friday due to chronic ulcerative colitis, just days after becoming Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.

  • Favorites to succeed him include Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, an Abe ally, and Shigeru Ishiba, an Abe critic and former defense secretary.

Flashback: Before Abe returned to power in 2012, Japan had shuffled through five prime ministers in as many years.

Data: Gleditsc and Chiozza, 2016, "Archigos — A Data Set on Leaders 1875–2015", Axios research; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The big picture: In his resignation statement, Abe acknowledged his failure to achieve signature promises, including a peace treaty with Russia to secure the return of disputed islands and reform of Japan’s pacifist constitution.

But Abe will perhaps be best remembered for restoring Japan’s status as a major player on the world stage and for strengthening the role of prime minister.

  • He also strengthened Japan’s alliance with the U.S., Michael Auslin writes for Foreign Policy.
  • “It’s been nearly a decade since Washington had to worry about whether a Japanese leader was fully committed to the alliance, could keep a stable parliamentary majority, and had clear plans for making Japan play a role in the world commensurate with its position as the third-largest economy.”
  • That era may be ending.

Editor's note: The above graphic was created in 2019, which is why the tenures of some current leaders (e.g., Boris Johnson) appear so short. See the interactive version.

Go deeper

Nov 23, 2020 - World

NZ's Jacinda Ardern becomes the latest world leader to congratulate Biden

Combination images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: NZ Prime Minister's Office/Instagram/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has become the latest world leader to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden in a phone call, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is still refusing to acknowledge the U.S. election win.

Driving the news: Biden's transition team said in a statement late Sunday he "expressed his intent to strengthen the U.S.-New Zealand partnership" and looked forward to working closely on challenges including containing COVID-19, tackling climate change and "reinforcing multilateralism."

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.