Japanese Prime Minister Abe quits for health reasons

The Prime Minister also apologized to the Japanese people in the press conference:

“My health has been deteriorating since June,” Abe said. “I don’t want the disease to lead to wrong policy choices.” Abe thanked the Japanese people for trusting him and apologized for not being able to finish his term.

The conservative prime minister is likely to stay on until his Liberal Democratic Party has chosen a successor. Abe didn’t want to speculate about who should succeed him.

His term of office expires in September next year. The 65-year-old Abe has been Japanese Head of Government since 2012 and is the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He also became prime minister in 2006, but then he quit after a year, also for health reasons

Unvisible

Few of the support for the once popular Japanese Prime Minister is little left, says correspondent Kjeld German in the CCeit Radio 1 News. “Abes popularity has collapsed lately. People are especially dissatisfied with his reaction to the coronapandemic. Abe was virtually invisible in the big second corona-wave we’ve had in Japan in recent months.”

The Prime Minister was also criticized for his economic policy. “Abe had a very aggressive monetary policy, which was a success, but little of his economic reforms came to fruition. He repeatedly said that he wanted to give women a bigger role, but that didn’t work out”, says Duits.

“It was Abes’ big dream to remove pacifism from the Japanese constitution, but there was a lot of resistance against it, even within his own party.” The adjustment would also allow Japan to use the army if an ally is attacked.

Power struggle

“The succession of Abe will be a power struggle within the party”, says German. “Rumors have been growing in recent weeks that there is a chance of an early election. With that in mind, two large opposition parties have recently merged. It’s hard to predict who will eventually be the new prime minister.”