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Abe visits the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima with then-U.S. President Barack Obama on May 27, 2016, after the Group of Seven summit. Obama was the first sitting U.S. leader to visit the city. 
Japan after Abe

In pictures: Looking back on Abe's tenure, from Hiroshima to Mario

Record-breaking premier steps down after seven-plus years at helm

Nikkei staff writers | Japan

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe abruptly announced his resignation Friday after a consecutive seven years and eight months that marked the longest unbroken stint in that office in the nation's history.

Abe's long hold on power brought a sense of stability to a country that had installed eight leaders in nine years not long before. But he was no stranger to controversy, from his support for controversial security legislation to his handling of COVID-19.

A look back at some of the most memorable moments from Abe's time in office.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sits on a chair reserved for the president of the Liberal Democratic Party on Sept. 26, 2012, after he was elected to lead the then-opposition party. (Photo by Hideyuki Miura)

Abe poses for a photo with his cabinet at the prime minister's office on Dec. 26, 2012, the day he returned to power after the LDP's election win earlier that month. (Photo by Masayuki Terazawa)

Abe rings the bell to mark the Tokyo Stock Exchange's last session of the year on Dec. 30, 2013. He had attended the event to promote his Abenomics policies. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

Crowds stand in front of the Diet building on Sept. 18, 2015, to protest national security legislation allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense on behalf of allies. The legislation took effect the following year. (Photo by Yuichiro Takagi)

Abe poses as the video game character Mario on Aug. 21, 2016, at the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

Abe, right, celebrates at LDP headquarters after beating former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, left, by winning reelection to the party's presidency. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

Abe and visiting U.S. President Donald Trump take in a sumo match at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo on May 26, 2019.

Abe holds a news conference on April 7, 2020, after declaring a state of emergency over COVID-19. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

Pedestrians in downtown Osaka watch Abe announce his resignation on Aug. 28, 2020. (Photo by Yoshiyuki Tamai)

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