The recent resignation of Shinzo Abe saw him bow out having set a double record for the tenure of a Japanese Prime Minister.
The first record was the total number of days in office, exceeding in two distinct time periods Katsura Taro's previous record spread over three.
The second record was for the longest continuous stretch as Prime Minister, which saw him surpass Eisaku Sato's run from 1964 to 1972.
The "official line" is that Abe chose to leave due to his resurgent ulcerative colitis. However, it is strongly suspected he would have originally intended his departure to be made after the 2020 Olympic Games with its associated prestige, by when he would also have exceeded both the records.
In addition, modern drug treatments mean his chronic condition can be successfully managed, so it is far from as debilitating as claimed.
His choice not to delay until after the delayed Games in 2021 is therefore now believed to have been more a function of his declining electoral popularity due to a succession of scandals and the paucity of his Covid-19 response, i.e. sending two "Abenomasks" masks costing only £2.50 in total to every household instead of to every individual.
He also refused to extend the Diet session despite resurgent Covid-19 infections and the domestic economy's sharp contraction. Collectively, these issues drove his popularity down to a new low of 27% in favour and 64% negative during May although it has recovered back above 30% positive.
Staying on would have meant that without the cover of the Olympics, the opposition would likely continue to successfully pressure him on these scandals which reach into the Liberal Democrat Party's headquarters staff ($14m of vote buying), the Cabinet Office (shredding documents) and the Ministry of Finance and his wife (discounted land purchase and documents altered by civil servants).
So rather than "lose face", he chose to depart early with the two tenure records to his name as well as catch the opposition off guard.
He also neatly side-stepped the pandemic-related recession, worse than in 2008-09, Covid-19 and worsening geopolitics, all of which are difficult to deal with and electorally unpopular.
So where does that leave Japan?
Electorally, the Liberal Democratic Party will elect a new party president by the end of September 2020, voted for by party officers (three from each of the 47 local chapters), and the Diet members with no rank and file participation.
Whoever "wins" will act as Prime Minister caretaker until September 2021, the date when Abe's term was originally set to run out and when a general election will be held.
Economically, all the likely candidates are essentially continuity candidates who will pursue the same policies, partly out of natural Japanese tendencies "not to rock the boat" and partly out of little practical alternatives.
This means the same "Three Arrows" approach, a mixture of spending, bond issuance, QE and deregulatory measures that have been followed since 2013.