Japan's Prime Minister announces plans to step down
TOKYO, Japan - The leader of one of the world's wealthiest countries announced Friday, that he will be stepping down.
Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, made the announcement during a news conference, according to The Associated Press.
Abe cited chronic health issues as his reason for stepping away from his position, saying, "I cannot be prime minister if I cannot make the best decisions for the people. It is gut wrenching to have to leave my job before accomplishing my goals.”
Abe suffers from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract in addition to impacting the innermost lining of the large intestine. It often causes debilitating pain and bleeding.
The 65-year-old prime minister reportedly visited a hospital twice within the past few weeks and said he decided to resign after a medical examination on Monday.
He will continue to serve as a member of parliament, as long as his health allows for it, and now a leadership race in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party must take place within the next few weeks.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso is expected to temporarily take over.
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