Japan’s PM Abe resigning for health reasons

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Friday he will resign, ending his record-breaking tenure in a bombshell development that kicks off a leadership race in the world’s third-largest economy.

Abe said he is suffering a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis that forced him to cut short a first term in office, and that he no longer felt able to continue as prime minister.

“Now that I am not able to fulfil the mandate from the people with confidence, I have decided that I should no longer occupy the position of the prime minister,” he said.

While speculation about Abe’s political future has grown in recent weeks, after two hospital visits for unspecified health checks, the resignation nonetheless came as a surprise.

Even as recently as Friday morning, the government spokesman had appeared to dismiss concerns about Abe’s health and suggested he would stay on.

But Abe made clear that would not be possible, apologising for once again cutting short his tenure.

“I would like to sincerely apologise to the people of Japan for leaving my post with one year left in my term of office, and amid the coronavirus woes,” he said, bowing deeply. (AFP)

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