Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose recent hospital visits have fueled rumors about his health, announced in a statement that he was resigning for health reasons.
The 65-year-old leader, who has just broken the record for longevity in his post, said on Monday that he passed medical tests in a Tokyo hospital for the second time in eight days, reigniting speculation about his ability to govern.
A Japanese weekly also recently claimed that Shinzo Abe coughed up blood in early July, and the media had also noted that he had not given any major press conference for several weeks.
According to the public television channel NHK, the head of government had expressed, before his official intervention, his “intention to resign to avoid disturbing the national political scene”. Shinzo Abe has held his post uninterruptedly since the end of 2012, a record of longevity for a Japanese prime minister.
First stint in power cut short
He had to cut short his first stint in power in 2006-2007, in particular because of a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or ulcerative colitis, which he said since to be cured.
Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga, however, has made efforts in recent days to sweep aside speculation about Shinzo Abe’s hasty departure. This loyal Prime Minister reiterated Friday morning to expect the Prime Minister to announce his intention to “work hard”, reaffirming not to have seen signs of deterioration of his health during his “daily” interviews with him.
Some analysts also expect Shinzo Abe to want to stay in his post until the end of his third and final term as President of the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) scheduled for September 2021.
“It is clear” that Shinzo Abe’s health “is not good,” said Mikitaka Masuyama, professor at the Doctoral College of Political Research in Tokyo. “But I think he will stay in his post while managing his disease,” he added, noting that Japan had instead succeeded in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and that Shinzo Abe had reasonable support from there. public opinion, although in sharp decline in recent months.