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Abe Shinzo, Japanese prime minister, to step down over worsening health

Abe Shinzo, Japanese prime minister, to step down over worsening health
August 28
10:39 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to step down due to worsening health issues, NHK, the country’s national broadcaster is reporting.

Abe is expected to announce his decision at a news conference later in the day.

The premier reportedly visited the hospital twice in August and found that his intestinal illness, called ulcerative colitis, has deteriorated.

On Monday, when he officially became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Abe had to visit the hospital for additional tests.

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His resignation will end an eight-year term in office during which he became the longest-serving leader in the country’s history

The illness forced Abe to abruptly quit as prime minister in 2007 before he returned to power in December 2012.

Abe, who marked 2,799 consecutive days in office as prime minister on Monday, surpassed the previous record set by his great-uncle Eisaku Sato, who served from November 1964 to July 1972 – a period of high economic growth in Japan.

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The sudden resignation comes amid a recession and resurgence of coronavirus infections in the country.

In August, the number of daily new infections exceeded 1,000 cases 15 times, including a record 1,601 on August 7, according to the health ministry.

The country has 64,668 cases of COVID-19 with 1,226 deaths.

In the second quarter, Japan’s economy – the world’s third-largest – contracted by 27.8 percent, marking the third straight quarterly contraction due both to the pandemic and a consumption tax hike last year.

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