Japanese Prime Minister announced that he will step down amid health concerns. Japanese national broadcaster NHK said on Friday that Abe wanted to avoid causing problems to the government due to his worsening health condition.
Speculation over Abe's health was rife after the Japanese PM made two visits to a hospital recently. Shinzo Abe battled ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease, for year. Abe held a press conference to make the announcement.
The ruling party has said that Shinzo Abe's health is fine amid reports of hospital visits -- including one that lasted nearly eight hours. His health led to concerns over his ability to continue in the demanding job till the end of his term in September 2021. He recently surpassed the record for the longest serving Prime Minister set by great-uncle Eisaku Sato around 50 years ago.
Shinzo Abe had vowed to revive the Japanese economics with his 'Abenomics' policy of spending and monetary easing. Amid criticism for the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Abe's support fell to one of the lowest levels in nearly eight years in office.
Abe had also abruptly resigned in 2007 citing ill health.
(With Reuters inputs)