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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigns as PM over health issues

By Ritika Nath

Japan’s longest-serving premier, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned as PM of Japan on Friday, due to his poor declining health, according to the local news report.

Shinzo Abe, 66, the Prime Minister of Japan is suffering from ulcerative colitis, a chronic medical condition that he has lived with since he was a teenage boy, until recently which escalated and exacerbated rapidly, according to the local news report. Abe recently became the longest-serving leader of Japan, breaking the record of spending the maximum number of days in the office which previously was set by his Eisaku Sato, his great uncle, who served Japan from 1964 to 1972 as the Prime Minister of the country. Abe said to a news conference, “I cannot be prime minister if I cannot make the best decisions for the people. I have decided to step down from my post.”

The news of Abe’s resignation affected Japan’s benchmark and Nikkei average fell 2.12% to 22,712.02, while the broader Topix shed 1.00% to 1,599.70. The selling wiped $4.7 billion off Tokyo’s $5.7 trillion stock market value, which had more than doubled during the leadership of Abe. This resignation within two or three weeks would automatically generate the leadership race in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party– and the winner of the race would be formally elected in the National Diet of Japan. Then the newly elected party leader would take the place of Abe and serve as the Prime Minister of Japan for the rest of Abe’s remaining term.

The newly elected leader is likely to keep Abe’s reflationary “Abenomics” policies as Japan is still struggling with the impact on the economy because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the leader might face some trouble emulating the political longevity, which was the actual legacy of Shinzo Abe. Jesper Koll, senior adviser to asset manager WisdomTree Investments stated, “The broad picture remains intact. In terms of economic and fiscal policy, the focus remains very much on reflation.”

“Longevity will be a struggle.” As stated by Mr Koll.

The country which was once known for its prime ministers for short tenures, the resignation of Abe marks the end of an unusual period of stability and power that saw Japanese leaders strike up strong ties with President Trump even as Abe’s ultra-nationalism riled the Koreas and China.

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