Nikkei tumbles, yen firms on news Japan’s Abe will resign

A man familiar with the matter said the country’s longest serving Prime Minister, Abe, had decided to step down.

Abe, who struggled with ulcerative colitis for many years, wanted to see if his condition deteriorated and the government was not affected, public broadcaster NHK had previously said.

Abe was scheduled to hold a news conference at 5:00 pm. (0800 GMT).

Analysts’ views on Abe’s resignation include:

Izuru Makihara, Professor of Japanese Politics and Public Administration, University of Tokyo

“Quitting is troublesome when Abe’s administration struggles to cope with a novel coronavirus epidemic.

“Japan is in the midst of a global epidemic, and Abe’s successors are unlikely to begin to unleash major policy changes. No one is expecting that from the next prime minister.”

Ji Liu, Professor of Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, University of Waseda

“This is surprising … we can now expect a period of uncertainty until the successor is determined. The state of diplomacy may reconsider amid the worsening relations between the coronavirus and the US and China.”

Jeff Kingston, Director for Asian Studies, Temple University Japan

“It is difficult to see Abe’s term as Prime Minister, but he provided stability and management (US President Donald) Trump and other world leaders were not easy to find. He stood for free trade with his EU deal and defended the TPP, but these were minor achievements, with bold assurances that Japan is back. ”

Lee Young-chae, Professor of Keisan University in Tokyo, Japan-Korea relations expert

“In terms of Korea-Japan relations, if (Suga’s) chief succeeds, Abe’s position will change slightly, but if (former Foreign Minister Fumio) Kishida takes office, there will probably be an improvement in relations.”

Jesper Cole, Senior Advisor to Asset Manager Wisdom Tree Investments Inc.

Commenting on potential successors: “The broader picture remains. In terms of economic and fiscal policy, there has been much focus on deflation. ”

Tomoki Ivey, Professor of Political Science at Nihon University

“The big question here is how he decides his successor. If this is a formidable vote (only for MPs), they are likely to vote for the continuation of current policies and so it is in favor of Suga. If this is a full-fledged election with all members of the party, it is in favor of Shigeru Ishiba.

Shingo ID, Chief Equity Strategist, NLI Research
“The stock market is up a little bit now. But I think we need to be careful for next week. He’s a success. Getting strong support is tough and political uncertainties are weighing on the markets.”

Rob Cornell, Asia-Pacific Head of Research, ING

“Japan needs to spend a lot of money right now. It needs to be forgotten about debt. It can also be done with revamping the BOJ a little bit. It’s the same thing all the time. So there are things to do. I think he should be sticking around.

“It’s usually a thing with markets, you know, the devil’s better …. I don’t see who’s going to step in and whether or not they’re actually going to breathe a little new life.

Shane Oliver, Investment Strategy, AMP Capital, Sydney

“I don’t see much change on the economic policy front. There are no real alternatives to Abenomics (originally Ultra Easy Monetary and Monetary Policy), who will take care of it and remain in Kuroda BoJ so there is no change to Ultra-Easy Monetary Policy. There will be a slight short-term market scare, but I hope it passes soon. “

Kheim Do, Greater China Investments, Global Markets, Barings, Hong Kong

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“I don’t think it’s significant. The economy is not as strong globally, and any prime minister, any leader of Japan, is trying to go as far as possible financially.

“The correction in Japanese stocks is a good buying opportunity. I’m not exactly sure where the sales are coming from, but one would have thought it would be more retail and business-based money on the uncertainty it causes.

Japan is one of the slowest economies to recover from the COVID-19 epidemic. Japan had to do more than others. Any weakness in Nikki or Topics would be great buying opportunities. ”

Paul Sandhu, Head – Multi-Asset Quant Solutions, Asia-Pacific in BNP Paribas Asset Management, Hong Kong

“Right now the response is temporary. It is moving back a little bit but we are back on track.

“Abe built his administration around reviving the Japanese economy through policy spending and monetary easing … It is not yet known when Abe will leave office but to help reverse the economy