People hold a meeting at a coffee shop in a business district in Tokyo June 19, 2014. More than half of Japanese companies would consider investing the windfall from a promised corporate tax cut on operations at home, a Reuters poll showed, adding to evidence that firms are willing to bet on a continued recovery in the world's third-largest economy. Yuya Shino/Reuters
Pedestrians cross a street at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district January 23, 2013. Toru Hanai/Reuters
Chiyoko Kaizuka, 83-year old farmer, weeds a spinach field, March 20, 2011, in Moriya, Ibaragi Prefecture, Japan. Eugene Hoshiko/AP
Kumiki Yudai hands a Chinese cabbage to a robot named 'Robovie-II,' developed by Japanese robotics research institution ATR, at a grocery store in 2010. The robot greets the shopper at the entrance of the store, follows him to the shelves while holding a grocery basket and reminds him of the items on a shopping list, which the shopper would have entered beforehand in a specialized mobile device. Yuriko Nakao/Reuters
Workers clean windows of an office building in Tokyo's business district February 20, 2013. Japanese manufacturers' sentiment picked up for the third straight month in February and looks set to turn positive in the next few months, a Reuters poll showed, showing a gradual recovery from a slump with help from a weak yen. Toru Hanai/Reuters
A man works at a factory that manufactures iron pipe fittings in the Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, April 16, 2013. Toru Hanai/Reuters
A woman walks on an advertisement for Canon digital cameras at an electronics retail store in Tokyo April 23, 2013. Toru Hanai/Reuters
A clerk works at Kate Spade's new Saturday label store in Tokyo March 21, 2013. Kate Spade Saturday opened its first store in Tokyo's trendy Harajuku district earlier this month and another in Osaka last week, and plans to have a total of five Japan stores open by June. Toru Hanai/Reuters
In this photo, Takayuki Shinoda, fish wholesaler, holds a slab of Pacific Bluefin tuna at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market, Jan. 24, 2013. Malcom Foster/AP
Workers at Toyota Motor Corporations Tsutsumi Plant work to assemble a variety of vehicles including the Prius and Corolla on September 25, 2008, in Toyota City, Japan. Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor
Japanese college students shout and raise their fists during a job-hunting rally in Tokyo on February 13, 2013. About 1,500 students from vocational schools attended the rally to boost their morale ahead of their job hunt. Yuya Shino/Reuters
Nursery school children wash their hands before eating lunch at Hinagiku nursery in Moriyama, western Japan, May 27, 2008. Expanding childcare facilities and paying more attention to work-life balance would help boost female employment, while also raising Japan's exceptionally low birth rate, according to the OECD's latest Economic survey of Japan. Yuriko Nakao/Reuters
Industry minister and pro-nuclear advocate Yuko Obuchi and Justice minister Midori Matsushima were both appointed last month but stepped down today amid allegations of impropriety. They were part of Abe's effort to raise the profile of professional women.
The departure of both the Japanese industry and justice minsters today within hours of each other deals a significant blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and appears to mark the first significant crisis for a popular leader known for strength and decisiveness.