Japan’s Abe thanks public before stepping down as PM

Tokyo, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe thanked the public on Wednesday hours before stepping down from the top job after Yoshihide Suga was confirmed as his successor earlier in the week.

“I have spent every day putting my all into economic recovery and diplomacy to protect Japan’s interests,” he told reporters at the prime minister’s office early Wednesday.

Abe said he was proud to have taken on challenges with the Japanese public and thanked them for their support since he returned to power in December 2012. He urged them to extend the same support and understanding to the new administration.

When asked about his health and the chronic ulcerative colitis that had led to his resignation, both on this occasion and during his brief first term between 2006 and 2007, Abe said that the treatment was working and that he is recovering.

The politician said he will support Suga’s government as lawmaker, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Abe made the statements hours after posting a video on the official Twitter account of the prime’s minister’s office, known as kantei, in which he appreciated the “likes” and comments posted on the platform which, he said, encouraged his cabinet to take on challenges.

Abe added in the video that while challenges remained, he had accomplished several that had divided national opinion during his time in office.

The minute-long video shows images of his last years at the helm of the government, including his participation in the race to organize the 2020 Olympic Games, former United States president Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, his appearances at G7 and G20 summits and meetings with leaders from around the world.

On Aug. 28, Abe, the longest-serving prime minister in Japan’s recent history, announced his decision to resign midway through his current term as the Liberal Democratic Party leader, which was to end in September 2021.

Speculation about Abe’s health had intensified recently following the prime minister’s recent visits to a hospital in the capital and some reports of health problems.

The prime minister said in a press conference that he was resigning as his health condition was not perfect and poor health could lead to erroneous political decisions.

On Monday, the ruling LDP elected chief cabinet secretary Suga as its new leader.

Suga, 71, has been Abe’s right-hand man in the administration that began in 2012. He will lead the LDP until September 2021 to complete the term that Abe left incomplete due to his resignation. EFE-EPA


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