Too soon to talk about post-Abe era, says Japan govt spokesperson
28 August, 2020, 09:27
One of his hospital visits reportedly lasted nearly eight hours, as the politician, Japan's longest-serving head of state in terms of consecutive days in office, is known to suffer from chronic condition - ulcerative colitis, which was in part responsible for forcing him out of office after just a year during his previous prime ministerial back in 2007.
Under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and scandals among party members, Abe - who vowed to revive the economy with his "Abenomics" policy of spending and monetary easing - has recently seen his support decline to one of the lowest levels of his almost eight years in office.
Sources have told Reuters that Abe would consult his doctors before meeting the media, either by phone or another hospital visit.
Earlier on Friday, Yoshihide Suga, a member of Abe's cabinet, insisted that the prime minister would finish out his term.
Friday saw concerns about his health and speculation about his tenure grow significantly as he made at least two hospital visits in the span of the past week, media reports have it. Officials from the governing Liberal Democratic party (LDP) had tried to quash speculation that Abe may be unable to serve out the rest of his term.
His remarks were echoed on Wednesday by the Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura who said Abe looked a "bit tired" over the last two weeks, but seemed "very well" on Tuesday and "gave us various instructions in the usual manner".
He returned to the leadership in 2012 and has gone on to become the country's longest-serving leader.
Abe stepped down previously because of a health issue in 2007 after only serving one year in office, NHK reported.
Criticised for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak and some scandals, Abe has suffered a slide in voter support to one of the lowest levels since returning to office with promises to revive the economy and bolster defence.
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