Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced he is resigning as Japan's prime minister after a bruising election in July and poor poll ratings. Here is the text of his resignation speech in full:
Today, I have determined that it is time to resign as prime minister. The results of the House of Councillors election held on 29 July were very bad.
However, despite the negative results, I had determined that the reforms should not be stopped and that the direction of breaking away from the post-war regime should not be changed and decided to continue in office.
Since then, I have worked as hard as possible up to this date.
Recently, in Sydney, I said that the mission that has been the expectation, and that has been highly regarded by the international community, in the war against terrorism should not be discontinued and that it should be continued by all means.
International contribution forms the core of the assertive diplomacy that I have advocated.
I had the responsibility to persist in this policy with everything in my power. With that thought, I said that I would make every effort and risk my job in order not to discontinue this mission.
I also said I would absolutely not cling to power. Toward this end, I had to make every effort possible.
I also felt that I had to work hard to create the environment, and that I had to give everything I have, and to do everything possible.
Today, I requested a party leaders' meeting with [opposition Democratic Party of Japan] President [Ichiro] Ozawa in order to convey my honest feelings.
Unfortunately, my proposal for the meeting was, in effect, rejected.
President Ozawa had criticised [me] before for not following the people's mandate. It is truly regrettable.
I thought about what I should do in order to continue the war against terrorism and concluded that I needed to turn the tide.
Under a new prime minister, the government should aim to continue the fight against terrorism, and to provide a breakthrough in this situation.
It is desirable that the new prime minister should go to the upcoming UN General Assembly.
With a resolve to promote reforms, I remained in the position and reshuffled the cabinet.
In the current situation, it is difficult to boldly implement policies without the people's support and confidence.
So I concluded that I must take responsibility to break the deadlock. Earlier, I conveyed my thinking and determination to the five top officials of the party.
Now that things have come to this point, I ordered them to begin work today to select the next president as soon as possible so that a political vacuum will not be created.
Concluding that if I delay my decision to step down, the government will face greater difficulties in parliament, I myself judged that I must make a decision as soon as possible. That is all I want to say.