Media: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigns due to deteriorating health condition

Japan's Radio and Television Corporation (NHK) said Friday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to resign, adding that the late leader wanted to avoid causing problems for the government due to a deteriorating chronic health condition.

Abe has battled ulcerative colitis for years, and two recent hospital visits within a week have raised questions about whether he can remain in office until the end of his term as leader of the ruling party, and thus prime minister, in September 2021.

It was scheduled to hold a press conference at five in the evening. (0800 GMT).

The Conservative MP returned as prime minister for a rare second term in December 2012, pledging to revive growth through an "Apinomics" mix of ultra-easy monetary policy, fiscal spending and reforms.

On Monday, he surpassed the record for the longest running period as prime minister set by his great-uncle Isako Sato half a century ago.

Abe has been criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and scandals among party members, having recently seen his support drop to one of the lowest levels in his eight years in office.

He has strengthened military spending and expanded the role of the armed forces, but his dream of a peaceful constitutional review failed due to the division of public opinion.

He abruptly resigned as prime minister in 2007, due to ill health after a year of scandals in his government and a massive election loss to his ruling party. Since then, his illness has been kept under control with previously unavailable medications.

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