Tokyo: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to announce his resignation over health issues, local media reported Friday, hours before he was due to address a press conference. “Abe intends to resign as his illness has worsened and he worries it will cause trouble” in leading the country, local Japenese media reported, without identifying their source.
Speculation about the prime minister’s health has been swirling for weeks but reached fever pitch in recent days after he made two separate trips to hospital for unspecified medical checks. Abe is scheduled to hold a press conference at 5 pm (0800 GMT) Friday and “he is likely to explain reasons”.
Abe took three days of holidays this month and on August 17 made an unannounced hospital visit, staying there for more than seven hours for medical checks. He made a second visit to the same hospital a week later for additional tests and said at the time that he intended to continue in the job.
Under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and scandals among party members, Shinzo Abe – who vowed to revive the economy with his “Abenomics” policy of spending and monetary easing – has recently seen his support fall to one of the lowest levels of his nearly eight years in office. Earlier in 2007, Shinzo Abe had abruptly resigned as the prime minister, citing ill-health after a year plagued by scandals in his cabinet and a huge election loss for his ruling party. Abe had since kept his illness in check with medicine that was not previously available.