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Japan after Abe

Abe's abrupt exit puts Indo-Pacific strategy and economy at risk

Return of musical-chairs leadership can only weaken country on global stage

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier at its home port of Yokosuka, Japan, in October 2015.

TOKYO/NEW YORK -- With the announcement of his resignation, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first leader of a major economy to step down amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Nikkei Stock Average's 2.6% plunge that followed reflects international concern over the risks that may lie ahead for the nation's politics, security and economy.

When word of Abe's resignation arrived just after 2 p.m. on Friday, every staffer at the Finance Ministry's Administration and Legal Division, which handles dealings with the Diet, rose to their feet.

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