In Shocking Japan PM Shinzo Abe Resign Over His Health
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday called for his resignation over health problems in a bombing development that would end a record-setting stint with no clear successor yet.
There was no immediate confirmation of the report, which came hours before Abe gave a press conference to address speculation about his health.
The unexpected news sent Tokyo shares down more than two percent, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index reversing earlier gains.
Rumors about Abe’s possible resignation were intensified after a recent visit to two surprise hospitals for unspecified medical investigations, but in recent days, senior government officials suggested that he would serve the rest of the year in office .
The resignation will be a bitterly familiar scenario for Abe, who spent just a year in his first term in 2007 over health problems.
He was later diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which he said was under control with the help of new medication when he returned to office in 2012.
If the resignation is confirmed, Abe remained in good health on Friday morning despite the insistence of government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.
“I look at her every day and feel that there is no change in her position,” Suga told reporters at a regular press conference.
And on Thursday, Suga told Bloomberg News that Abe would “definitely” be able to complete the rest of his term, which ends on September 2021.
But health problems piled on Abe’s pressure, which this week broke the record for the longest uninterrupted term in Japanese history.
Despite the relatively implicit influence of coronoviruses in Japan, Abe’s government has been heavily criticized for its approach to the crisis, including a U-turn on incentive payments and a much-mocked decision to issue two domestic face masks each Is included.
The Prime Minister has also seen his signature “abenomics” boosting economic policy, with the country undergoing a recession even before the arrival of the coronovirus crisis.
Nevertheless, experts had said that there was little appetite within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to leave Abe early, especially because there is no consensus on his successor yet.
And with Japan’s fragmented opposition so far unable to capitalize on the government’s falling approval ratings, there appeared little pressure on him to step down.
The sudden resignation opens up various possibilities, including either Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso – who also serves as Finance Minister – or Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga will assume office in an executive capacity.
Elections within the party would later confirm a full-time successor.