Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, along with his cabinet, have formally resigned to clear the way for his successor, who is set for confirmation in parliament after the long-term leader stepped down due to ongoing health problems.
Abe attended his final cabinet meeting on Tuesday, making an impassioned statement on his time leading the nation as lawmakers prepare for a vote to confirm a new premier.
“I devoted my body and soul for the economic recovery and diplomacy to protect Japan’s national interest every single day since we returned to power,” Abe told reporters ahead of the meeting.
Yoshihide Suga – currently the chief cabinet secretary, who is widely considered to be a close confidant to the PM – was selected on Monday to replace Abe as leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and is all but ensured to secure confirmation on Wednesday, given the party’s parliamentary majority.
A self-avowed reformer, Suga said his top priority in office will be to combat the coronavirus pandemic and support an economy struggling amid the health crisis, but he has also vowed to pursue some of Abe’s priorities, including his ‘Abenomics,’ which combines easy monetary policies with fiscal stimulus.
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, announced his resignation last month, pointing to a serious health issue that would not allow him to continue leading, even resulting in a number of hospital visits in August. During Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, the soon-to-be former PM said his condition was improving, thanking citizens for their support while urging them to get behind his successor.