TOKYO: Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, confirmed his resignation on Friday (Aug 28), citing ill health.
Abe said his health started declining around the middle of last month, and that he did not want his illness to affect important policy-making decisions.
“I have decided that I will step down as prime minister, with the belief that I cannot continue being prime minister if I do not have the confidence that I can carry out the job entrusted to me by the people,” Abe, 65, told a news conference.
Abe has battled the disease ulcerate colitis for years and two recent hospital visits within a week had fanned questions on whether he could stay in the job until the end of his term in September 2021. Abe said he was receiving a new treatment for the condition, which needed to be administered on a regular basis which would not leave him with sufficient time to discharge his duties.
Abe said he had decided to step down now to avoid a political vacuum as the country copes with its novel corona virus outbreak.
“I apologies from the bottom of my heart that despite all of the support from the Japanese people, I am leaving the post with one full year left in my term and in the midst of various policies and corona virus,” Abe said.
Thank you for all your years of service for Japan