Saturday, 31 July, 2021


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Resigns for Health Reasons

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expresses intent to step down due to health Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a televised news conference
Bennie Garza | 30 August, 2020, 09:24

"Now that I am not able to fulfil the mandate from the people with confidence, I have decided that I should no longer occupy the position of the prime minister", Abe said. Former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba and former foreign minister Fumio Kishida indicated they intend to run, while Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Defence Minister Taro Kono are considered among the potential candidates.

"His successor could be a caretaker", effectively, Nishikawa added, given that the LDP will hold another leadership election in September 2021, with general elections likely the following month.

Mr. Abe, 65, had been prime minister for almost eight years, a significant feat in a country accustomed to high turnover in the top job.

Abe said it is up to the LDP leadership to determine the schedule of the party election but that he believes his health will hold up until a successor is chosen.

Mr Abe, 65, was first elected to parliament in 1993, and in 2005 he became a cabinet member when then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi appointed him to the high profile role of chief cabinet secretary.

Under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and scandals among party members, Abe has recently seen his support fall to one of the lowest levels of his almost eight years in office.

2012 - Starts his second stint as prime minister. "And his dream of revising the constitution to free Japan's military from post-war constraints remains unfulfilled".

Widely seen as the architect of the "quad" - a four-nation strategic consultation framework involving the U.S., Australia, Japan, and India - Abe's tenure saw Tokyo cultivate deep relations with New Delhi.

Attempts to revive the economy have also faced challenges, with data released in May showing Japan had entered a recession for the first time since 2015.

Shinzo Abe had earlier made two trips to the hospital amid speculation over his health.

Government sources suggested he might be "tired" due to dealing with anti-pandemic efforts, with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso saying the PM had worked for 147 consecutive days until June. That was the supermajority required to push through a constitutional revision, but Mr. Abe never brought that dream to fruition, with public opposition to such a change remaining high.

That attempted reform, as well as his apparent support of political allies who make visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, a war memorial in Tokyo, gave many South Koreans a negative view of Abe, according to Kim Eun-bin, a journalist who covers Japan for Newspim.

His resignation announcement on 28 August put an end to the rumours. However, it may lead to an internal struggle between LDP factions, because he declined to name a successor.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world.

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