putin.jpgShinzo Abe announced his retirement today as Japan's least favorite Prime Minister. Try to read this New York Times description without being reminded of someone: "the nationalist leader whose vision of an unapologetic and strong Japan foundered on scandals, incompetence and gaffes..." Nationalistic? Scandal-ridden? Gafes? That's right, it sounds just like Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Vlad Putin fired his Prime Minister today so that he could appoint the guy who he wants to replace him as President once he ostensibly resigns to run the country a little more quietly. By the way, you have never been fired this badly:

"We all have to think together how to build a structure of power so that it better corresponds to the pre-election period and prepares the country for the period after the presidential election in March," Putin told Fradkov during the meeting, which was carried on Russian television.

He dismissal meeting was broadcast live on national television! Vlad, you're such a dick!

Oh, and the Japanese guy? First Prime Minister born after World War II, big loser, his defense minister apparently defended the use of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? He resigned three days after the Parliamentary session started, even though he wanted to do it as soon as he had to go back to work.

Taro Aso, the secretary general of his party, said that Mr. Abe first mentioned to him directly his desire to quit on Monday. Mr. Aso said he told Mr. Abe that "the timing" was not appropriate, but that Mr. Abe repeated his desire to resign on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday.

"His intention did not change at all over three days," Mr. Aso said in a separate news conference.

Japan, also making with the public embarrassment. Hilarious!

Meanwhile Angela Merkel is still v v well-liked, which just goes to show that you should always be a Chancellor or a President if given the chance. Prime Ministers get the rawest deal in world leadership.

Of course, Fradkov and Abe should feel lucky. Hell, a couple years ago Fradkov woulda just been disappeared to Siberia, and Abe, had he existed in the Japan of terrible Samurai movies, would've obviously committed ritual seppuku shortly after the Liberal Democrats' defeat in the upper house election.

Oh, btw, Bush will still be our President for another year-and-a-half and there's absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. So stop already with the signs and shouting.

Prime Minister of Japan Will Step Down [NYT]

Putin Dismisses Russian Prime Minister [NYT]


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