Fade Away

Toru Hanai / Reuters

After stubbornly rebuffing calls for his resignation, Abe abruptly reversed course on Sept. 12 and announced he'll relinquish the prime ministership

He blinked back tears, and his voice wavered. Unable to parry reporters' queries, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe let drawn-out pauses speak more loudly than his choked words. For a man who had staked his reputation on being the tough guy who would transform his homeland into a self-confident nation with a military worthy of its economic might, the end had come with a whimper. But even stranger was the reason Abe gave during a Sept. 12 speech announcing his intent to step down as Japan's leader. In his tumultuous yearlong tenure, Abe weathered a stunning parliamentary defeat for...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!