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Shinzo Abe To Step Down As Japan’s Prime Minister Due To Health Issues, Netizens Speculate On Successor

Japan PM Shinzo Abe resigns

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced today, 28th August 2020, that he will be stepping down from his post, citing health concerns for his resignation. 

Japan’s longest-serving leader to resign

Shinzo Abe resigns - screenshot from press conference
Image adapted from: TBS News 

According to official sources from the Liberal Democratic Party, Japan’s longest-serving leader, Shinzo Abe, has decided to resign from his post due to his deteriorating health condition

Abe, who has been Prime Minister for 8 consecutive years, has served the longest tenure in this top government position in the history of Japan. He addressed the public about the government’s COVID-19 response and his health condition. 

His health issue had originally come under scrutiny due to his lack of public appearances between mid-June and early August. Despite appeals for him to address the nation about his health – amid the escalating pandemic in Japan – Abe had kept a low profile. 

Speculations about Abe’s successor

Shinzo Abe resigns - screenshot of trending hashtag from twitter
Image adapted from: Twitter

With his resignation announced, rumours about the next Prime Minister abound. Netizens are speculating about who Abe’s successor will be, with the hashtag #次の総理 (tsugi no sōri, or  #thenextPrimeMinister) currently trending on Twitter. 

Shinzo Abe resigns - screenshot of tweet
List of potential successors (from top to bottom): Shigeru Ishiba, Fumio Kishiba, Tarō Kōno, Tarō Asō, and Yoshihide Suga. 
Image adapted from: @Kei_politics 

User @Kei_politics summarised a list of potential candidates in an easy-to-understand manner – listing each of their political stances and chances of success – before concluding with his personal view that “Tarō Asō is most suited” for the job.

taro aso
Tarō Asō
Image credit: Sebastian Derungs/World Economic Forum/Wikimedia Commons 

Tarō Asō had been Japan’s Prime Minister for a year in 2008-2009, and is Japan’s current deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Shinzo Abe resigns - screenshot from twitter
Shinjirō Koizumi
Image adapted from:

The public’s top pick Shinjirō Koizumi, the popular 39-year-old son of former premier Junichiro Koizumi, is also a top contender according to netizens such as @UtarouWASEDA and @Col_Chunyan.

Shinzo Abe resigns - screenshot of tweet
Shinjirō Koizumi
Image adapted from:

Shinjirō Koizumi is currently Japan’s environment minister and was educated in Kanto Gakuin University, where he earned his economics degree.

New details from press conference held at 5PM (JST)

According to his statement at the press conference, Abe stated that he has suffered from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, for 13 years. His regular checkups have shown signs of recurrence and in early August, the relapse was confirmed. This prompted his decision to resign. 

He stated that he is regretful for his resignation at this timing and apologised to the nation. Abe also added that he will stay on as premier until a successor has been chosen. 

Shinzo Abe resigns as Prime Minister

Though his resignation is widely regarded as untimely amid a crucial juncture when strong leadership is needed to tide the nation over the pandemic, it is nonetheless for the best, for the sake of his health. We wish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a speedy recovery. 

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Cover image adapted from: DW News