Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepped down from his role leading the country due to declining health.
“I have decided to step down from the post of the prime minister,” Abe said at a news conference, adding that he was suffering from a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis that brought an end to his first term.
He said his health is improving and thanked the people for their support, and asked them to support his successor.
He abruptly resigned from his first stint in office in 2007 due to his health, which had fueled concerns about his recent condition.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, long seen as Abe’s right-hand man, was chosen Monday as the new head of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, virtually guaranteeing his election as prime minister in a parliamentary vote Wednesday because of the party’s majority.
Suga, a self-made politician and the son of a strawberry grower in the northern prefecture of Akita, has stressed his background in promising to serve the interests of ordinary people and rural communities.
He has said he will pursue Abe’s unfinished policies, and that his top priorities will be fighting the coronavirus and turning around an economy battered by the pandemic.