Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced his resignation from an office he has held for nearly 8 years because of ill health. In a press conference today (Friday), bowed out of office just four days after he exceeded the record for the longest consecutive run as leader in Japanese history.
Shinzo Abe, 65, has overseen Japan’s recovery from a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, restored a semblance of economic health and gained favor with an what the New York Times described as an “unpredictable American president,” Donald J. Trump.
Prime Minister Abe revealed that he is suffering a relapse of the bowel disease that led him to resign during his first stint in office (2006-7. Consequetly, he says that he wants to make way for a new leader to tackle the challenges facing Japan, including the global coronavirus pandemic.
Japan’s conservative governing party, the Liberal Democratic Party, will appoint an interim leader who will serve until the party can hold a leadership election as Abe’s term was set to expire in September 2021.
The leading candidates to replace Mr. Abe include Taro Aso, the long-serving deputy prime minister and a former prime minister; Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary to Mr. Abe; Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister who once ran against Mr. Abe for party leader; Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister; and Taro Kono, the current foreign minister.