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Japanese PM hospitalised amid search for successor

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Japanese PM hospitalised amid search for successor


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose resignation announcement stunned the country, has been taken to hospital suffering from extreme fatigue.

Yesterday he told reporters he was standing down over a stalemate in parliament but senior officials have said health concerns were also a factor.

Abe’s year in office has been marked by scandals involving cabinet members, and a disastrous election defeat in July.

That has hampered his Liberal Democrats’ efforts to push through a bill on supporting US-led anti-terror operations in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the question of who will succeed Abe hangs over the party.

LDP Secretary-General Taro Aso is seen by many as the frontrunner.

But he could be undermined by his closeness to the outgoing leader, and a record of gaffes.

Aso has called for early party elections to fill the political vacuum.

Former chief cabinet secretary, Yasuo Fukuda, is also considered a possible candidate.

There is also speculation that former finance minister Sadakazu Tanigaki might put his name forward.

But whoever takes over will still face a deadlock in parliament.

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