Japan’s Shinzo Abe, the nation’s longest-serving prime minister, has announced he will step down from his post due to health reasons.
Abe, who turns 66 next month, has suffered from ulcerative colitis since he was a teenager.
The chronic condition is thought to be aggravated by stress.
Here is what some international leaders are saying about his decision to resign:
US President Donald Trump
“I want to pay my highest respect to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe … a great friend of mine. I just feel very badly about it.”
Trump said Abe loved his country very much, adding that he planned to call the Japanese leader.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian
“In recent years, the relationship between China and Japan has returned to the right track and achieved new developments … We express a positive assessment of the important efforts made by Prime Minister Abe to achieve these ends and at the same time wish him a speedy recovery.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
“Abe Shinzo has achieved great things as PM of Japan – for his country and the world. Under his stewardship, the UK-Japan relationship has gone from strength to strength in trade, defence and our cultural links. Thank you for all your years of service and I wish you good health.”
.@AbeShinzo has achieved great things as PM of Japan – for his country and the world. Under his stewardship the UK-Japan relationship has gone from strength to strength in trade, defence and our cultural links. Thank you for all your years of service and I wish you good health.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 28, 2020
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
“I regret his resignation and wish him all the very best. We worked very well together.”
The Kremlin regrets that Prime Minister Abe has decided to step down, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, describing the working relations between Abe and President Vladimir Putin as “brilliant”.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen
“Prime Minister Abe was always friendly to Taiwan, whether on policy or the rights and interests of Taiwan’s people – he was extremely positive. We value his friendly feelings towards Taiwan and hope he is healthy.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
“Prime Minister Abe struck me as a person of great integrity. He has led by example and showed what hard work, passion, and care for others can achieve.
“There is much Japan and New Zealand see eye to eye on. Our shared commitment to democracy and the rules-based international system makes Japan an important partner for New Zealand, especially in the Indo-Pacific region where we share common goals.”
South Korea presidential spokesman Kang Min-Seok
“We regret the sudden resignation announcement of Prime Minister Abe, who has left many meaningful achievements as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, and has also especially played a large role for development in South Korea and Japan’s bilateral relations.
“We wish the prime minister a quick recovery. Our government will continue cooperation with the new prime minister and the new cabinet for improved ties with Japan.”
SOURCE: Reuters news agency