Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his intention to step down due to the worsening of his chronic illness. Abe announced his decision today, Friday, at a press conference in Tokyo, according to The Washington Post.
"My poor health should not lead to bad political decisions. Since I am no longer able to live up to the expectations of the Japanese people, I decided that I should no longer remain prime minister. So I decided to step down," Abe said.
He noted that his health began to deteriorate in mid-July. Even then, the media started talking about his probable resignation, since the last two months Abe had been seen for frequent visits to the hospital, while according to the plan, the prime minister was supposed to undergo examination twice a year.
Abe's first term as head of government ended with his resignation in 2007 due to the fight against ulcerative colitis. He returned to political activity and took over the government again in 2012, after he managed to control the disease with drugs that were not previously available.
Now the disease has worsened and, according to the prime minister, requires more treatment and monitoring.
Abe said he will remain in office until the ruling Liberal Democratic Party selects a new leader to head the cabinet. The current head of government himself plans to continue his political career and intends to participate in the next parliamentary elections.
Potential candidates for the new prime minister include Fumio Kishida, LDP policy leader and former foreign minister Yoshihide Suga, known for his behind-the-scenes coordination skills, who has been the top secretary of the cabinet since Abe returned to power in the end, Kyodonews reports. 2012. Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister who has often criticized the prime minister, may also lead the government after his resignation.
Abe is known for being the country's longest-serving prime minister. He surpassed the record of half a century ago set by his great-uncle Eisaku Sato for the longest term in office as prime minister in a row. Since December 2012, when the government of Abe Shinzo was formed and took up its duties, a cabinet of 18 people has worked for more than 600 days without a single resignation or replacement. This is an extremely rare case in Japanese politics, which surpassed the term of the second composition of the Sato government (1965-1966, 425 days) and became a new record for the duration of the government's permanent work in all the postwar years.