Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to resign due to ailing health

He is the longest-serving prime minister of Japan.

Credit : Kent Nishimura / Getty Images file (edited)

Apologising to his countrymen for not completing his full term, the Japanese Prime Minister on Friday stepped down from his position. Abe said he did not want his health condition to become a hurdle in decision making.

A BBC report stated that Abe has been suffering from ulcerative colitis, a bowel illness that causes inflammation. He said the worsening of the disease happened. He is the longest-serving prime minister of his country. The latest term in his office started in 2012. He has agreed to carry out his duties till the next PM takes over.

Abe had resigned abruptly in 2007 as the country’s PM due to the same reason. The illness has been troubling him since his teenage. He has been implementing aggressive economic policy, which is now known as "Abenomics". Abe is a staunch conservative.

During his sting as the PM, he has boosted his country’s defences and increased spending on the military. However, he could not amend Article 9 in the constitution. The Article bans standing army for any other purpose, except self-defence.

According to BBC, Abe said the disease, which aggravated in July, needs more time for treatment regularly. This would not allow him to focus on his responsibilities as the prime minister.

"I made a judgement I should not continue my job as a prime minister," Abe said.

Taking a bow, he said, "I would like to sincerely apologise to the people of Japan for leaving my post with one year left in my term of office, and amid the coronavirus woes, while various policies are still in the process of being implemented."

He regretted that he could not fulfil his core promises including returning of Japanese citizens abducted decades ago from North Korea; finding a solution to the territorial dispute with Russia; and amending the constitution for giving more power to the military.

He said he would "firmly execute my duty to the end" till his successor takes over. A vote within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will take place to choose their new leader. A parliamentary vote to choose a new PM will follow his party’s election. Deputy PM Taro Aso, LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga are among the potential PM candidates. The new PM will remain in the PM’s office till September 2021, when Abe’s term would have ended.