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Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has announced his resignation on Friday, citing poor health, SATURDAY FLAKES reports.
“I have decided that I will step down as prime minister, with the belief that I cannot continue being prime minister if I do not have the confidence that I can carry out the job entrusted to me by the people,” Abe, 65, told a news conference.
He said he had decided to step down now to avoid a political vacuum as the country copes with its novel coronavirus outbreak.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart that despite all of the support from the Japanese people, I am leaving the post with one full year left in my term and in the midst of various policies and coronavirus,” Abe said.
SATURDAY FLAKES gathered that he similarly quit in 2007 after one year as premier, citing illness. It was the second time Abe has resigned as prime minister because of poor health.
He has battled the disease ulcerative colitis for years and two recent hospital visits within a week had fanned questions on whether he could stay in the job until the end of his term as ruling party leader, and hence, premier, in September 2021.
The resignation will trigger a leadership race in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) – most likely in two or three weeks – and the winner must be formally elected in parliament.
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The new party leader will hold the post for the rest of Abe’s term. Abe resigned from his first stint as prime minister in 2007, citing ill-health after a year plagued by scandals in his cabinet and a huge election loss for his ruling party.
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