Japan PM Resigns, PM Modi Expresses Pain
| Onkareshwar Pandey - Editor in Chief - CEO, IOP - 28 Aug 2020

By Onkareshwar PANDEY

New Delhi, Aug 29, 2020:

Bowed in apology Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation on Friday in the midst of various policies and coronavirus in his country.

In a bombshell development that kicks off a leadership contest in the world's third-largest economy, Mr Abe, 65, confirmed in a press conference that he was stepping down after nearly eight years at the political helm following a recurrence of a chronic inflammatory bowel condition.

Bowing deeply as he announced his resignation,  Mr Abe said: "I apologies 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," he said.

"I cannot be prime minister if I cannot make the best decisions for the people. I have decided to step down from my post," Mr Abe said.

“I don’t want to make mistakes in important political decisions” while undergoing treatment, Mr. Abe said. “I decided I shouldn’t continue sitting in this seat as long as I cannot respond to the mandate of the people with confidence,” Mr. Abe said.

PM Abe added: "It is gut wrenching to have to leave my job before accomplishing my goals."

Mr Abe, during the press conference, expressed regret at failing to resolve the longstanding issue of North Korean abductions as well as not yet carrying out his long-cherished dream of reforming the pacifist constitution.

Abe said he will focus on his treatment for now and “continue his political activity and support a new administration as a lawmaker."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his pain at the illness of his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and lauded his "wise leadership and personal commitment" for making the ties between the two countries deeper and stronger than ever.

“Pained to hear about your ill health, my dear friend Shinzo Abe. In recent years, with your wise leadership and personal commitment, the India-Japan partnership has become deeper and stronger than ever before. I wish and pray for your speedy recovery: PM Narendra Modi Tweeted after the news of his resignation.

The Japanese news media had been speculating about Mr. Abe’s health for weeks, particularly after he significantly dialed back public appearances as a new wave of coronavirus infections erupted in clusters throughout the country. When Mr. Abe visited a hospital twice in the span of a week, the rumor mill went into overdrive.

Mr Abe’s resignation comes at a time when his support ratings are at a record low, with widespread public discontent over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, its impact on the economy and a string of ongoing political scandals.

When Mr Abe came to power for a second time in 2012, he brought a period of unexpected stability to Japan’s political landscape, following a revolving door scenario of six different prime ministers in as many years before his arrival.

Since then, conservative Mr Abe has strengthened Japan’s military, sought to counter China’s growing influence and was instrumental in winning a bid to host the now postponed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

However, he is perhaps most renowned for his economic policies. His three-pronged strategy of so-called Abenomics aimed to defeat deflation and revive economic growth with hyper-easy monetary policy and fiscal spending.

This was second time, when Mr Abe has tendered his resignation as prime minister over ill health, having previously ended a one-year stint in power in 2007 due to the same medical condition before returning to power in 2012.

Mr Abe, who became the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history in November 2019, has suffered from the condition ulcerative colitis since his teens.

Just a few days ago, Mr Abe hit the heights of his political career, as he became Japan’s longest serving prime minister in terms of consecutive days in office. Marking his 2,799th day in the role of prime minister, he eclipsed a previous record set by his great-uncle Eisaku Sato nearly 50 years ago.


Mr Abe’s resignation will trigger a leadership race in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), with the winner to be formally elected in parliament. Abe’s successor will serve for the rest of his term, with the country’s next general election set to take place during or before October 2021.

The  ruling LDP is expected to hold a vote to elect its next president soon, paving the way for a new prime minister to replace Mr Abe, who had been due to stay in power until September 2021. Till then, Mr. Abe will continue on his post.

The leading LDP heavyweights to replace Mr. Abe include Taro Aso, the long-serving deputy prime minister and a former prime minister; Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary to Mr. Abe; Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister who once ran against Mr. Abe for party leader; and Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister.

Mr. Abe declined to name a favorite, saying they were all “very promising.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr. Suga had reassured reporters that Mr. Abe intended to remain in office. “The prime minister himself has said he would like to work hard again from now on, and I’m seeing him every day,” he said, adding that the prime minister’s health “remains unchanged.”

Representational Images Source PM's Office of Japan Twitter Handle and PM Modi's Twitter Handle

Image 1 - PM Shinjo Abe 

Image 1 PM Abe with PM Modi

Image 3, PM Abe on June 15 after the second supplementary budget was enacted in Japan.

Browse By Tags