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A Tearful Shinzo Abe Announces Resignation

Japanese PM says he's stepping down for health reasons
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2020 5:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – An emotional Shinzo Abe held a press conference Friday to make a big announcement, for a second time: He's resigning. The BBC reports that the 65-year-old prime minister of Japan has long suffered from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, but after his issues started recently worsening, he made the difficult decision to step down. "I cannot be prime minister if I cannot make the best decisions for the people," he told reporters, per NBC News, adding that he would be staying in the post until a successor is chosen. "I need to fight the disease and need to be treated," he added, per CNN. The AP reports he has suffered from the health condition since his teenage years, and that it had been successfully managed. But he was found to have relapsed in June and has started a treatment that involves IV injections.

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Last year, Abe became the nation's longest-serving prime minister. The record-holder before him: his great-uncle, Eisaku Sato, who served in the mid-'60s to early '70s. It's not the first time he's been in this position. In 2007, after just one year in office during a previous term, Abe's illness forced him to resign as prime minister. He was reelected in 2012. Japan's Liberal Democratic Party will now pick a new leader, who must be formally approved by parliament; the process is expected to take a few weeks. The new PM will stay on through the end of Abe's term, which runs until September of next year. (Read more Shinzo Abe stories.)

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