Abe leaves Tokyo hospital after 7-hour check-up

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left a hospital in Tokyo after a seven-hour check-up amid concerns over his health.

On Monday morning, the Japanese leader checked into the Keio University Hospital for what one of his aide’s described as a “health check-up”, although rumours have been swirling about his deteriorating health, reports Xinhua news agency.

The check-up lasted about seven and a half hours, during which “he had various parts of his body checked just to be sure, as he had a whole weekday available for the checkup”, according to a government official.

Abe’s visit to the hospital came a day after former Economy Minister Akira Amari told a TV program that the Prime Minister needed to rest, hinting that he may be suffering from exhaustion.

Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso also weighed in on the premier’s busy schedule possibly taking its toll on his health, stating that Abe had “worked for 147 consecutive days through June 20, so it is not surprising for someone not taking a rest for that long to be in rough shape”.

Abe, 65, during his first tenure in office, which started in late September 2006, abruptly stepped down from his post in 2007 due to chronic ulcerative colitis, an intestinal disease.

Earlier this month however, Japan’s top government spokesperson Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga downplayed any potential health issues Abe may be going through, stating: “I see the Prime Minister every day, and I think he has no health problems at all as he has been carrying out his duties smoothly.”

Abe’s possible health issues have triggered both empathy as well as concern from opposition parties.

“If he is not well, I hope he will get rest and recover as soon as possible,” Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People, said.

But some other lawmakers have said that if the prime minister is indeed not in good health, he should be replaced as the country’s leader to avoid a political vacuum as the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

Abe underwent a check-up at the same hospital in Tokyo about two months ago and has been receiving regular check-ups every six months.