Japan PM Shinzo Abe resigns, states poor health as a reason

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Japan PM Shinzo Abe (Image: Twitter/@@AbeShinzo)
Japan PM Shinzo Abe (Image: Twitter/@@AbeShinzo)

New Delhi : Japanese Prime Minister Minister Shinzo Abe has resigned from his post, claiming poor health as a reason behind his decision to quit and get relieved from the duties.

“I cannot be prime minister if I cannot make the best decisions for the people. I have decided to step down from my post,” Abe, 65, told a news conference.

Abe has been battling the disease ulcerative colitis for years and his recent two hospital visits raised suspicion on his health conditions and doubts if could continue to be on the prime post.

As news of the resignation spread, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average fell 2.12% to 22,717.02, while the broader Topix shed 1.00% to 1,599.70. The selling wiped $4.7 billion off Tokyo’s $5.7 trillion stock market value, which had more than doubled during Abe’s tenure.

With the news of his resignation, a leadership race among the LDP leaders will start; the winner must be formally elected in the Parliament. 

The new party leader will hold the post for the rest of Abe’s term.

The big challenge for the new candidate will remain reviving the world's third biggest hit economy due to coronavirus pandemic.

“The broad picture remains in tact. In terms of economic and fiscal policy, the focus remains very much on reflation,” said Jesper Koll, senior adviser to asset manager WisdomTree Investments.

On Monday, Abe surpassed a record for longest consecutive tenure as premier set by his great-uncle Eisaku Sato half a century ago.

“As head of the ruling party he worked hard on Abenomics for eight years,” said brokerage employee Naohito Kojima, 55.

“There were various problems but if someone else had been leader, it’s questionable whether they could have maintained a stable government as long as Mr Abe. He did various diplomatic negotiations and I think the pros outweighed the cons.”