TOKYO: Japanese lawmaker Shinzo Abe will resign over health issues, top lawmakers said Friday. A record tenure in bomb shell development will be ended.
Abe announced his plan at an emergency meeting of the ruling Lib Liberal Democratic Party, senior lawmaker and close Abe ally Tomomi Inada told reporters.
“I asked for his plan. It was sudden and unexpected. I was stunned,” he said.
Other lawmakers have confirmed the account.
The news came just hours before Abe gave a press conference to address the ulation hypocrisy about his health.
It plunged Tokyo shares by more than two percent, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index reversing past gains.
Inada told reporters that Abe will remain in office until the successor is decided, mostly through the election of ruling party lawmakers and members.
Rumors about Abbey’s resignation have intensified after two recent surprise hospital visits for an indefinite medical check-up, but in recent days, senior government officials have instructed him to serve the rest of the year in office.
But the decision was a “big surprise,” said Shinichi Nishikawa, a professor of political science at Tokyo’s Meiji University.
“His resignation comes at a time when Japan is facing serious problems, including measures against coronavirus,” Nishikawa told AFP.
“There may be political confusion.”
The resignation of Abe, who was just a year down from his first term in 2007 on health issues, is a bitter case.
He was subsequently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, returning to office in 2012, with the help of new .surgents, he said.
The decision comes despite government spokesman Yoshihide Suga insisting Friday morning that Abe is in good health.
“I see him every day and think there is no change in his condition,” Suga told reporters at a regular press conference.
And on Thursday, Suga told Bloomberg News that Abe will be able to serve the rest of his life, which expires September 2021.
“They’ll be all right,” he said.
But health problems seem to have heaped on Abe’s pressure, breaking the record he held for the longest time in Japanese history this week.
Despite the relative impact of the coronavirus in Japan, Abe’s government has come under severe criticism for its approach to the crisis, including the U-turn on stimulus payments and the highly derided decision to issue two homemade clothing masks.
The Prime Minister’s signature “Abenomics” economic policy has seen increasing pressure as the country has already fallen into recession before the coronavirus crisis.
Still, experts say there is little appetite for Abe to exit the Liberal Democratic Party, especially as there is still no consensus on his successor.
There was no immediate pressure on Japan to go down, as Japan’s mented opposition failed to take advantage of the government’s slumping approval ratings.
When Abe’s health requires him to leave office immediately, the prime minister is initially dispatched to the caretaker government.
But early reports suggest Abe plans to stay in office while organizing a leadership contest, and party officials and members will vote on his successor.
Among the candidates are Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso – who also serves as Finance Minister – and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and former and current Cabinet Ministers.