Saturday, 27 November 2021

Japan to lift COVID-19 emergency in Tokyo

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

TOKYO – Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, said on Friday that he was resigning due to health concerns. Abe addressed the county and announced that the return of chronic ulcerative colitis – an inflammatory bowel disease that has afflicted Abe since he was a teenager – had rendered him unable to continue leading the country amid the pandemic.

The country’s longest-serving leader had provided Tokyo with political stability during his eight years in office. Abe, 65, brought Japan back from a catastrophic tsunami and nuclear disaster. He also improved the economic situation considerably and cozied up to US President Donald Trump on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

His resignation, which comes a year before the end of his term in September 2021, creates fresh uncertainty in Japan. Abe did not announce who might be replacing him as prime minister, but he is expected to remain in the position until his Liberal Democratic Party elects a new leader.

But Abe didn’t succeed with two of his notable aims: amending Japan’s pacifist constitution or reaching an official peace treaty with Russia to end World War II.

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