JAPAN’S Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to announce his resignation over health issues, local media reported Friday hours before he is due to address a press conference.
“Abe intends to resign as his illness has worsened and he worries it will cause trouble” in leading the country, national broadcaster NHK said, without citing a source.
Speculation about the prime minister’s health has been swirling for weeks but reached fever pitch in recent days after he made two separate trips to hospital for unspecified medical checks.
Tokyo stocks plunged more than two percent Friday after reports on Abe’s resignation plan.
The Nikkei 225 dropped 2.10 percent, or 486.99 points, to 22,721.87, reversing earlier gains, after local media reported Abe was set to quit.
The yen, considered a safe haven in times of uncertainty, rallied against the dollar, hitting 106.11 to the greenback, from 106.74. Agence France-Presse