Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who suffered a rumor on his health, has visited a hospital for medical checkup. While it was announced as a regular checkup, public attention on his health is growing again, shedding light on the fact that Mr. Abe had stepped down from office owing to health issues in the past.
At 10:30 a.m. on Monday, the Japanese prime minister visited Keio University Hospital in Shinjuku, Tokyo. His visit came during his three-day vacation after attending a memorial service for the war dead on Saturday, which marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II. An official at Abe’s office said the prime minister used his off-day to check on his health status.
However, the timing of the medical examination was rather unexpected. Abe has been receiving regular checkups at the hospital every six months, and the latest one was on June 13. “Visiting hospital again two months after a regular schedule is highly unusual,” said a local news source. Another news outlet suspected that he was already preparing to visit the hospital on Sunday afternoon and even considering hospitalization depending on the test results.
For his Bon Festival holidays, Mr. Abe is known to typically visit his vacation home in Yamanashi prefecture, but this time he is resting at his private residence owing to the spread of the coronavirus. The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday that Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso visited Abe at his residence and advised him to take a rest.
The rumor of Abe’s ill health began to spread, compounded by the inability of his administration to cope with COVID-19 and his plummeting approval ratings. It circulated even faster after the Flash, a photo-specialized weekly magazine, published an article claiming the prime minister was seen puking blood at his office on July 6. The Mainichi Shimbun delivered the message from an official at the residence that “Abe is mentally healthy yet physically tired.” TBS Television pointed out his slower pace of walk and speculated that Abe was suffering from illness.