Japan’s 65-year-old prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has announced his resignation after an eight-year stint in office due to failing health.
Abe made the announcement on Friday, saying he had suffered a relapse of a chronic bowel condition. –He said he had ‘lost a lot of his energy and strength’ and would need regular medical treatment that would prevent him from tackling the Coronavirus crisis.
‘I have been struggling with my illness and I have to get treatment. Poor health should not lead to wrong political decisions,’ he told a press conference.
The prime minister’s several visits to a Tokyo hospital in the space of one week sparked off speculations about his health.
According to NHK, the governing Liberal Democratic Party is expected to appoint an interim leader who will serve until the party can hold a leadership election.
The leading candidates to replace Mr. Abe include Taro Aso, the long-serving deputy prime minister, and a former prime minister; Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary to Mr. Abe; Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister who once ran against Mr. Abe for party leader; Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister; and Taro Kono, the current foreign minister
Abe who suffers from colitis, a non-curable inflammatory bowel disease, resigned during his first stint as the country’s leader from 2006 to 2007 before he became Prime Minister again in 2012.