Japanese Prime Minister Abe set to resign due to health issues.
Image Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images
On Friday, local media reported that the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 66 next month, will resign due to health issues. He is expected to explain the reasons behind his early departure from office, at a news conference at 5pm local time. His term was due to end in September 2021.
Speculation on the the Prime Minister’s health was brought to attention after he made two hospital visits in a week. One of his visits lasted around 8 hours. He is known to suffer ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic disease of the large intestine affecting the lining of the colon. The colon lining is usually inflamed and develops small sores or ulcers. It is usually caused by the immune system overactive response.
The condition also forced the prime minister to exit early in his first term back in 2007, when he had to leave after 1 year in office. He became a prime minister again in 2012 and said he was dealing the condition with newly available drugs.
The governing political party, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) attempted to stop the rumours about Prime Minister Abe’s health. The deputy of the Prime Minister, Taro Aso, currently the finance minister, is expected to be the acting prime minister.
The government’s spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, attempted to calm the rumours about the prime minister, ‘I see him everyday and I haven’t noticed anything different.’
Last week he spent only a few hours in his office, and earlier this month he was criticised for not holding a press conference regarding the government’s handling of the coronavirus for several weeks.
Tobias Harris, a Japan specialist at Teneo Consulting explained the government’s attempt to give him a chance to recover after his first hospital visit.
‘It seems as if the government hoped that witb a pause Abe might recover and therefore his condition would not become a political issue. After his second unexpected visit in as many weeks, I think that approach has run its course..it will be increasingly difficult for the government to avoid providing a more transparent account of Abe’s condition,’ Tobias Harris said to Agence France-Presse.