Japan’s Abe to step down as leader owing to health concerns – World –

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a protective face mask arrives at his official residence, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan August 28, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to step down from his post owing to concerns over his health, a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) source said Friday.

Scheduled to give a press conference on the matter later in the day, Abe is believed to have already announced his resignation at an LDP meeting.

The Japanese leader has been quoted as saying that his resignation is meant to have a limited impact on the ruling party and he will continue in his role until a successor is chosen.

Rumors about the Japanese premier’s deteriorating health have been swirling of late and amplified by two trips to a Tokyo hospital within a week.

Abe’s first admission to hospital on Aug. 17 for what was described at the time by as a “health check up” that lasted more than seven hours stoked concerns about his health.

On Aug. 24, Abe revisited the Keio University Hospital in Tokyo again to receive the results of the checkup and to receive more tests, with the second visit lasting four hours.

The same day he visited the hospital for the second time, he became Japan’s longest-serving leader with the most consecutive days in office at 2,799.

If confirmed, this would be the second time Abe has left the top post due to health issues.

Abe, 65, during his first tenure as prime minister, which started in late September 2006, abruptly stepped down from his post in 2007 due to chronic ulcerative colitis, an intestinal disease.

After a landslide victory in the lower house in 2012 he returned to serve as the nation’s premier and his seven year-tenure has made him Japan’s longest ever serving leader.

Abe, prior to his health condition, was set to spend one more year at the helm.

Abe’s presidentship of the main ruling LDP was set to run out in September 2021.

Sparking concerns about the premier’s ill health, prior to the rumors mounting in public and political spheres, a weekly magazine reported that Abe vomited blood at his office on July 6.

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