shinzo abe 88.298.
(photo credit: AP)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was hospitalized Thursday for psychological stress and exhaustion a day after announcing his resignation, his doctors said, amid speculation health troubles prompted him to step down.
Toshifumi Hibi, a top doctor at Keio University Hospital, said Abe would stay for at least three or four days for treatment for gastrointestinal inflammation, exhaustion and other symptoms of stress.
"He is suffering from extreme exhaustion," Hibi said. "He has lost weight. Symptoms include abdominal plain, digestion problems and lack of appetite. These symptoms can be attributed to physical exhaustion and psychological stress."
Abe, 52, announced Wednesday he would quit, citing political reasons. Other government officials, however, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano, said Abe suffered from unspecified health issues that contributed to his departure.
Yosano said Abe had been receiving regular checks from his personal doctor since returning from a trip abroad over the summer.
"Mr. Abe has an illness that could cause him to feel unwell," Yosano said Wednesday. "His doctor determined that his fatigue level has reached its peak, so I think that the doctor concluded that he needed to be examined at a well-equipped hospital."
The front-runner to replace Abe, former foreign minister and fellow conservative Taro Aso, was expected to announce his candidacy later Thursday. Kyodo News reported the Liberal Democratic Party would decide the election schedule on Thursday and campaigning could start as soon as Friday.
Abe's popular predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, reportedly refused supporters' pleas to join the race. But Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga, who served as defense minister under Koizumi, said he wanted to run.
Calls for a snap election for the powerful lower house of parliament, which chooses the prime minister, gathered steam Thursday amid the confusion. The opposition took control of the upper house of parliament in elections on July 29, capitalizing on the unpopularity of Abe's scandal-scarred government.