Shinzo Abe resigns as Japanese PM

28 Aug 20

Japanese prime minster Shinzo Abe is to resign as leader of the nation due to ill health.

He announced his resignation in a press conference, during which he addressed his health after two recent hospital visits.

Abe is the longest-serving prime minister in Japan’s history, and his current period in office began in 2012. His resignation comes just a year before his current term ends.

In a press conference, he said: “I made a judgment I should not continue my job as a prime minister.

“I would like to sincerely apologise to the people of Japan for leaving my post with one year left in my term of office, and amid the coronavirus woes, while various policies are still in the process of being implemented.”

He resigned from an earlier term as prime minister in 2007, because of his struggles with ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that he has lived with since he was a teenager.

He added that he wanted to avoid causing problems for the government because of his worsening condition, but will remain in post until a successor is chosen.

The pandemic has led to the Japanese government allocating stimulus measures worth £1.67trn, and officials expect a fiscal deficit of 16% of GDP this year.

Last month, Japan pushed its budget surplus target back because of the impact Covid-19 has had on the government’s finances.

The government predicts it will run a primary budget surplus of 300bn yen (£2.16bn) in 2029-30, it revealed in its biannual round of projections – when in January it had predicted a surplus as soon as 2026-27.

Global Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s lowered its outlook on Japan’s sovereign debt in June, moving its rating from ‘positive’ to ‘stable’, and warned that its sovereign credit rating could be reduced as well if growth remains low and deflation puts pressure on the budget.

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