Speaking on Friday to officially announce his resignation from office after an 8-year stint in power, Shinzo Abe cited health reasons as an underlying factor for his resignation amid reports he had been vomiting blood.

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“Even though there is one year to go in my tenure and there are challenges to be met, I have decided to stand down as prime minister,” said Abe at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, adding that he would like to apologize to the people of Japan for being unable to fulfill his duties during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to reports, Abe has colitis, a non-curable inflammatory bowel disease, which was a factor in his previous resignation as prime minister in 2007, ending his first term after just over a year in office.

On Monday morning, Abe visited Keio University Hospital in Tokyo for what was his second hospital visit in a week, and this raised concerns as speculations begun making rounds with regards to his health.

“For almost eight years I controlled my chronic disease, however, this year in June I had a regular check-up and there was a sign of the disease,” he added. “I made a judgment that I should not continue my job as prime minister” said Abe. “I need to fight the disease and need to be treated.”

Addressing the people of Japan, Abe noted rendered his heartfelt apologies to the Japanese people for quitting amid the pandemic and before realizing numerous policies.

Specifically, he expressed his utmost regret for failing to resolve the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals.

In light of his resignation, Shinzo Abe’s party, the Liberal Democratic Party, according to NHK, is expected to appoint an interim leader who will serve until the party holds a leadership election for his successor.