Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that he is stepping down because of persistent health problems. Shinzo Abe, the man who has shaped the destiny of Japan for the better part of this decade is resigning from the prime minister’s office. Shinzo Abe’s term in office would have ended in September 2021 but he won’t complete it. His health has come in his way; his decision ends intense speculations over his political future. In one week, Abe visited the hospital twice. The visits triggered questions over his health. The question being asked was this “Is Shinzo Abe fit to be in office? The Japanese prime minister has put the questions and the speculations to rest. The 65-year-old prime minister would remain in office until a successor is chosen.
“Even though I have one year to go in my tenure and with other challenges that have not been addressed yet and amid the coronavirus outbreak, I decided to step down as the prime minister. I would like to send my apologies to the people of Japan” – Shinzo Abe (Japan prime minister)
He is suffering from a relapse of ulcerative colitis. This is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract of the body. This is a disease that Shinzo Abe has lived with since he was a teenager. Chronic conditions that led to his first resignation in 2007. Report stations will now receive treatment with a new and promising drug. It was very interesting to listen to his entire press conference. He didn’t use a prompt like he usually does and has almost answered almost all the questions that were asked. Abe has been criticized in the past for pre-selecting some questions and preparing the answers but today Japan’s PM has answered some very highly critical questions as well, including how the government has been handling the coronavirus pandemic. PM answered that he is been doing his best and compared to some other countries japan’s death rate has managed to start relatively low. Other questions including the fact that he pre-selects some of the questions in the press conference was asked and it was very interesting that he tried to come across very genuine and sincere as he announced his resignation which did come as quite a surprise even though he made that two hospital visits within just over a week and that prompted some concern and speculations about his health.
The last when he first served as a prime minister back in 2006 and 2007, he also has to abruptly resign because of the same illness. So there were always concerns and rumors about it but still, a lot of people thought he would try and finish his term which ends in September next year. It’s ironic to see that he was probably hoping to have the Tokyo Olympics and have a great summer but instead he had that pandemic to handle and his popularity has started to fall because of the way his government handled it. This was clear with his he has been seen in the last couple of weeks and that also fed into some speculations about this possible resignation which git confirmed yesterday. Many of his ministers in his cabinet were hoping that their PM remained in office for another year to finish and this news has indeed taken them in surprise.
Many call him a born-again politician because the illness first emerged when he was only 15 and only when he turned the mid-50s started to manage the illness and out that under control. For a long period since December 2012 when he came back in office he was healthier than his entourage. Shinzo Abe was very much fit and the evidence of which is he traveled longer and met more world leaders than any other Japanese prime minister before. He was seen healthy until the very moment that he has had to challenge the pandemic and stayed in office for 147 consecutive days without any break and that overload has accelerated his illness than he thought it would be. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent his best wishes through a tweet; he said “Pain to hear about your ill health and my wish and pray for your speedy recovery” similar messages have come from elsewhere. Abe’s decision effectively means that he will exit public life.
Shinzo Abe is Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. Abe has been in office since 2012. So it’s nearly 8 years now. And that’s truly remarkable because Japan saw six prime ministers in six years. This was before Abe took office in 2012 and the eight years that he been prime minister, Abe has done a lot. He oversaw Japan’s recovery from a devastating earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster. He introduced stimulus policies to revive the economy of Japan, these measures led to the nickname Abenomics. Under Shinzo abe, Japan made defense expenditure a priority in 2017. He scrapped the rule that restricted defense spending to just one percent of the GDP. Under him, Japan’s defense budget shot up by 13 percent. Japan’s geography matters and will continue to matter and for Japan to survive this challenging neighborhood they need to establish your true identity and Shinzo Abe has revisited its identity as a maritime democratic nation and by waving that flag he also has managed to bring Japan even closer for instance to the UK or India or Australia in addition to Japan’s long-standing alliance partner of the united states and this laid a solid foundation for Japan’s future.
Shinzo Abe’s end game was of course to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution- A constitution that forbids the use of force as a means to settle international disputes. It forbids Japan from maintaining its own defense forces. Japan does not have an army and Abe wanted to change that. The plan may now have to wait. Another accomplishment is working with Donald Trump. It is quite an achievement as most world leaders are struggling on this front but Shinzo abe has kept the boat steady. As North Korea tested more missiles, Japan became a closer strategic partner of the US. These are the hallmark and legacy that Shinzo Abe leaves behind and will be remembered for.
He will remain in office until a successor is chosen his announcement has led to a site in his party the liberal Democratic Party next Tuesday they’ll decide how to hold an internal election to find Abe’s replacement and after that will be a parliamentary vote to elect the new Prime minister. Some names are already doing the rounds; the first one is Taro Aso, the finance minister, and the deputy prime minister of Japan. A core member of the team Abe and a political royalty just like Shinzo abe, he too is the grandson of a former premier. The next name on the list is Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister known for his hawkish policy stance. He had defeated Shinzo Abe in the first round if the party presidential election in 2012 but he lost in the second round. Contender number three is Fumio Kishida. He served as a foreign minister under Shinzo Abe from 2012 to 2017. Reports say he was less keen on revising the pacifist status of Japan’s constitution. Who takes this place is yet to wait and see.