Shinzo Abe's successor is likely to continue his foreign policies, which the prime minister's supporters say have raised Japan's global recognition even though many of its goals remain unachieved, pundits say.

But while Japan's next leader is expected to uphold Abe's positions, such as strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region to counter China's rise, he or she will likely see a slow start in forging personal ties with world leaders, they said.

Abe, who on Friday announced his plan to resign for health reasons, developed a close relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump while playing golf in both Japan and Florida.