Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Aug. 28 he will resign due to a flare-up of his chronic intestinal disease, ending his nearly eight-year stint as Japan’s longest-serving leader. The announcement comes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many of Abe’s political ambitions unrealized.
Abe, who just four days earlier had set a record of staying in power for 2,799 consecutive days, will leave office without achieving his long-cherished goal of amending the pacifist Constitution or welcoming the Tokyo Olympics while still the country’s leader.
“As I am no longer in a condition to respond confidently to the mandate of the people, I have decided I should not stay in the prime minister’s post,” Abe, 65, said at a televised news conference.
The abrupt announcement came amid falling public support for his Cabinet, as many perceived his government was dealing poorly with issues stemming from the spread of the virus.
His Liberal Democratic Party is considering holding a leadership election around Sept. 15, according to senior party lawmakers.
Abe said he had been able to keep the illness, ulcerative colitis, which led to his first resignation as premier in 2007, under control for most of his tenure, but he started to feel fatigue from mid-July and was diagnosed with a relapse earlier in August. (Kyodo)