Hiroshige Seko, the party’s general secretary in the upper house of parliament, said earlier that Abe had decided to resign so that his health would “not cause problems”.
Concerns over Abe’s chronic health issues, which had been simmering since the start of the summer, escalated this month when he visited a Tokyo hospital two weeks in a row for unspecified exams .
Abe, whose term ends in September 2021, is expected to remain in office until a new party leader is elected and formally approved by parliament.
He abruptly resigned his first term in 2007 due to his medical condition, which had fueled concerns about his recent condition.
Abe became the prime minister of Japan on Monday for several consecutive days in office, eclipsing the record of Eisaku Sato, his great-uncle, who served 2,798 days from 1964 to 1972.
But his second hospital visit on Monday has accelerated speculation and political maneuvering around a post-Abe regime.
Abe admitted to having ulcerative colitis since he was a teenager and said the disease was controlled with treatment. After his recent hospital visits were reported, senior officials in Abe’s cabinet and the ruling party said Abe was overworked and in dire need of rest.
His health concerns added to speculation that Abe’s days in power were numbered. His approval ratings are already at an all-time low due to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its severe impact on the economy, in addition to a series of political scandals.
Shigeru Ishiba, a 63-year-old hawkish former defense minister and Abe’s main rival, is a privileged next leader in media inquiries, although he is less popular within the ruling party. Low-key former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Defense Minister Taro Kono, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of coronavirus measures, are widely speculated in the Japanese media as Abe’s potential successors.
The end of his scandalous first stint as Prime Minister was the start of six years of annual change of leadership, remembered as an era of “revolving door” politics that lacked stability and long-term policies. .
When he returned to power in 2012, Abe vowed to revitalize the nation and pull his economy out of deflationary slump with his “Abenomics” formula, which combines fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms.