LDP Members Jittery ahead of Abe's Press Conference


Tokyo, Aug. 26 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to hold a press conference Friday possibly to explain his health condition is making waves among lawmakers of the country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Abe's health may become a major factor in the Japanese political world, as the prime minister, who doubles as LDP president, has the authority to select LDP executives and dissolve the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament. The current term for LDP executives expires late next month, and that of Lower House members in October 2021.

One senior LDP official phoned a close aide to Abe several days ago to ask about the leader's health. The official, who did not visit the prime minister's office to meet the aide in person over fears that it might cause a stir, stopped short of revealing what the aide said over the phone. Instead, the official said that Abe is "not sick enough to warrant a resignation," adding that he "can continue his duties while making hospital visits."

Abe's first stint in power was curtailed in September 2007, when he stepped down due to the worsening of his ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease. Concerns over Abe's health have remained even since he returned to the role of prime minister in late 2012.

The recent wave of concern about the prime minister's health arose around July, after this year's regular Diet session ended the previous month, with people around him saying that Abe's complexion had worsened and that he looked tired. The apparent downturn in his health is likely due in part to the burden of dealing with the novel coronavirus epidemic.

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Jiji Press