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Japanese PM hospitalised amid search for successor

Japanese PM hospitalised amid search for successor
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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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