Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 65, announced on August 28th that he would resign due to health reasons, citing that he had no choice but to resign for the country during the unprecedented pandemic. Debilitating effects of his illness, ulcerative colitis couldn’t help him serve the country anymore.
Abe once stepped down voluntarily during his term in 2007 because of the same reason after serving the country as the youngest prime minister in the history for a year. The disease has been regarded as a disease with no known cure, and the Japanese and international community were shocked by his unexpected resignation given his history of getting through with his illness for the past 9 years.
The leaders of other nations have expressed sadness about Abe’s resignation with warm regards for his future journey. U.S. President Donald J. Trump told reporters at Air Force One, after Abe's announcement on his resignation that he cannot imagine what leaving the office means and feels. "We've had a great relationship and I just feel very badly about it, because it must be very severe for him to leave," Trump said. Leaders of France, Germany, and the UK also send their regards to Abe and looked back on what they have done with Japan.
Critics and some news media, however, pointed out that there is some background people need to know regarding Abe's sudden decision to resign. His approval ratings had plummeted into the 30s and his disapproval rating had risen to the highest since he began his second term in 2012.
Also, Japanese opposition politicians and critics said it is good news for Japan's future, considering his failure on handling the pandemic at the early stage which caused the sluggish economy. "Japan's longest-serving leader is leaving office by running away from scandals and evading calls for accountability from the people he is supposed to serve," said Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University in Tokyo, in the article published in The New York Times.
After Abe left his office, one main question has been asked: Is he bowing out of his office in hope of avoiding prosecution?