Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan (file)

Tokyo : Japanese longest serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned to undergo treatment for a chronic illness, NHK reported. “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.

Abe said he was receiving a new treatment for the condition, which needed to be administered on a regular basis which would not leave him with sufficient time to discharge his duties.

“Now that I’m not able to fulfill the mandate from the people with confidence, I have decided that I should no longer occupy the position of the Prime Minister”

Shinzo Abe is expected to stay in office until his ruling Liberal Democratic Party can choose a successor, in an election likely to take place among the party’s legislatures and members.

However, there is no clear consensus on who will replace him, with likely candidates including finance minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan Yoshihide Suga.

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