Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned due to health reasons

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Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in history, has resigned due to health reasons. “Even though there is one year to go in my tenure and there are challenges to be met, I have decided to stand down as prime minister,” said Abe at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday. He suffers from colitis, a non-curable inflammatory bowel disease. Under Abe, his right-leaning Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had major success. Abe is known internationally for his government’s economic policies, nicknamed Abenomics, which pursue monetary easing, fiscal stimulus, and structural reforms.

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Abe said he will remain in office until a successor is chosen. Japan is not a presidential system, instead the country’s leader is chosen by parliamentarians. A major factor that has dogged Abe during his time in office was the country’s rapidly aging population. More than a third of the Japanese population is over 65. Now, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Abe’s right hand man, is a continuity candidate. Among the candidates are deputy prime minister Taro Aso who also serves as finance minister.

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