Abe returns to hospital after undergoing checkup for more than 7 hours

Tokyo, Aug 24 (efe-epa.- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the hospital again on Monday to follow up on the medical check-up he underwent a week ago at Keio University Hospital and which generated speculation about his health.

Television cameras caught Abe arriving at the medical center in the Japanese capital.

“When he visited the doctor last week, he told him to come back a week later and today’s consultation is a continuation of the previous one,” the prime minister’s secretary told public broadcaster NHK.

The new hospital visit comes on the same day that Abe added a new political milestone to his career, becoming Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, a mark held until now by his great-uncle Eisaku Sato.

Abe already became the longest-serving prime minister of Japan in the country’s modern history in November 2019, considering his most recent terms (since Dec. 26, 2012) and his first one-year term between September 2006 and 2007, from which he resigned suddenly due to health problems.

Asked if Abe will end his current term at the head of his party (and therefore the government, according to the country’s regulations), which is scheduled to expire in September 2021, the secretariat said that “that is why additional checks are being carried out.”

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga also downplayed Abe’s visit to the hospital today and tried to dispel speculation by pointing out in his daily press conference that he sees the prime minister “every day and has been the same.”

Speculation about the 65-year-old’s health has increased since he underwent an examination for more than seven hours last week after local media reported that he had recently suffered from a health problem and had undergone another checkup in mid-June.

Some cabinet members and people close to Abe have expressed concern that the prime minister has shown signs of exhaustion in recent months.

Speculation about Abe’s health has also been fueled by the visit to the aforementioned hospital, the same one he went to in 2007 when he announced his resignation in his first term, due to chronic ulcerative colitis. EFE-EPA


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