TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced on Monday that he was resigning.
"Today, I have decided to resign. We need a new line-up to cope with a new session of parliament," Fukuda told a news conference.
Fukuda, who took over in September last year, has struggled to reverse low approval ratings.
The resignation would create a huge opportunity for the opposition, which won control of one house of parliament in elections last year.
Fukuda's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been in power for all but 10 months since its creation in 1955. Fukuda did not have to call elections until September next year.
He took office nearly a year ago in hopes of reviving the LDP, but he faced an uproar for introducing a hugely unpopular medical coverage plan that raises costs for many elderly people.
Fukuda on Friday unveiled a US$107-billion stimulus package, although some economists doubted it would give a long-term boost to the economy.
A poll out earlier Monday said that his government's approval rating had slumped nine points in the past month to 29 per cent, erasing most of the bounce he received from reshuffling his cabinet a month ago.