Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet wishing him speedy recover, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose camaraderie with his Indian counterpart is well known, today said he hoped their partnership would improve in the time to come.
“I am deeply touched by your warm words,” Mr Abe wrote in a reply to PM Modi’s tweet from August 28, when the president of the Liberal Democratic Party announced his decision to step down as Japan’s Prime Minister citing health reasons.
— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) August 31, 2020
Mr Abe also took the time to thank his US and Australian counterparts, among others, for their warm wishes and hoped that the alliance between their nations would strengthen even after his departure from office.
On Friday, Mr Abe had said he no longer felt able to continue as prime minister as he is suffering a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis, a disease that had also that forced him to cut short a first term in office.
Soon after the announcement, world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took to Twitter lauding Mr Abe for his wisdom in helping Japan recover from the effects of the 2011 Tsunami, subsequent nuclear disaster at Fukushima, and a scheme to revive the country’s long-stalled economy popularly called Abenomics.
Mr Abe, Japan’s longest serving Prime Minister, had been expected to stay in office until the end of his term as LDP leader in September 2021.
While the jockeying for the position to succeed him was still in its early stages, some potential successors have emerged, among them Finance Minister Taro Aso, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba and LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida.
Mr Kishida is rumoured to be Mr Abe’s personal choice, while Mr Aso commands one of the strongest blocs within the ruling coalition.
Most of the potential successors are seen as unlikely to break significantly with Mr Abe’s policies.