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Japan's Prime Minister Resigns

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigns for health reasons.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Source: CNN)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resigned from his post, saying that he did not want his illness to get in the way of decision making and also apologized to the people of Japan for not being able to complete his term in office.

According to local media reports, Abe suffers from ulcerative colitis, a chronic medical condition that he has lived with since his teenage years. Shinzo Abe announced his resignation days after he made at least two hospital visits within a week.

Shinzo Abe told that his health started to deteriorate as his ulcerative colitis made a revival around July and he now has to go through treatment on a regular basis which wouldn’t leave him with enough time to carry out his duties as prime minister.

The prime minister also expressed regret at not being able to fulfill his core pledges - getting back Japanese citizens from North Korea, who were abducted decades ago, sorting out a territorial dispute with Russia, and giving more power to the military by overhauling the constitution.

Recently, Abe became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, but he had also abruptly resigned from an earlier term as prime minister in 2007, due to similar reasons. But his current period in office began in 2012, and since then he has been serving as the prime minister of Japan and has also been a dominating force in Japanese politics. 

Now, Shinzo Abe had been expected to stay in office until the end of his term as Liberal Democratic Party’s leader in 2021, but now that he has resigned, the question is - what happens next?

Japan is not a presidential system, instead the leader of the country is chosen by parliamentarians, which takes us back to 2017, when LDP saw major success as its long term rival Democratic Party split into two. Now, Abe leaves the LDP in control of both houses of parliament, with a large majority in the Lower House of Representatives and this should ensure an LDP successor to Abe. And his potential successors could be deputy prime minister Taro Aso and chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga. However, Shinzo Abe has said that he’ll remain in office until a successor is chosen. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to Twitter to thank Shinzo for his services and wish him good health.

“I want to pay my highest respect to prime minister Shinzo Abe...” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. Trump said Abe loved his country very much and said he planned to call him, reported Reuters.

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