Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, announced his resignation. He cited his declining health behind the reason for stepping down. At 65 years old, Abe has been suffering for many years from a condition known as ulcerative colitis, which is an inflammatory bowel disease. He stated that his condition has worsened in recent times.

Born in Tokyo to a wealthy family with sway over the nation’s politic and economics, it was almost certain that Abe would go on to play an important role in the politics of Japan. Abe attended Seikei Elementary School, Seikei Junior High School and Seikei Senior High School. He studied public administration and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Seikei University in 1977. He later moved to the United States and studied public policy at the University of Southern California’s School of Public Policy for three semesters. He worked at Kobe Steel from 1979 to 1982. After his job at Kobe steel, pursued a number of government positions including executive assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, private secretary to the chairperson of the LDP General Council, and private secretary to the LDP secretary-general. On 14 July 2006, Abe was inaugurated as Japanese Prime Minister. Elected at age 52, he was the youngest prime minister since Fumimaro Konoe in 1941. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors like the Member Special Class of the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud, April 2007, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau, October 2014 and 2013 Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers, 2013 to name but a few.

In 2019, Abe become the longest serving Japanese Prime Minister to ever hold office. His current tenure began in the year 2012. He will remain in office until his successor is formally nominated. In 2007 he resigned abruptly from an earlier term as prime minister because of his struggles with ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that he has lived with since he was a teenager. The prime minister said his health started to decline as his ulcerative colitis made a resurgence around the middle of July. He is now in the middle of receiving continuous regular treatment for his illness which has to be administered on a frequency that is disruptive to his daily functioning as the Prime Minister of Japan. Abe claims that this will hamper his prime ministerial duties and not give him enough time to do his job properly.

As Prime Minister, he held a reputation of being a staunch conservative and a nationalist. He worked hard towards stimulating growth with aggressive economic policies. In fact, Abe’s economic policy was named after him – Abenomics. He has strengthened Japan’s defenses and boosted military spending, but has been unable to revise the constitution’s pacifist Article 9, which bans a standing army for anything other than self-defence.

His announcement will have automatically triggered a vote within his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to replace him as leader. The party will decide next Tuesday how to hold an election, Kyodo news agency reports. This election will be followed by a parliamentary vote to elect a new prime minister. Potential successors have already emerged, including Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida, who is rumoured to be Mr Abe’s choice.