Seoul – South Korea has expressed regret over the sudden decision of Shinzo Abe to step down as the Japanese prime minister, saying he greatly contributed to the development of Japanese-South Korean relations.
South Korean presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok, who made this known on Friday, wished him speedy recovery.
Abe officially announced earlier in the day his plan to step down, citing health issues.
He has already informed the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, of which he is the leader, and Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of the Komeito party, which is a part of the ruling coalition.
“We regret the sudden resignation of prime minister Shinzo Abe.
“He was the longest-serving (prime minister) in office in the history of constitutional rule in Japan and left behind a number of significant achievements.
“He, especially for a long time, actively promoted the development of Japan-South Korea relations. We wish prime minister Abe a speedy recovery. The South Korean government will continue to work with the new prime minister and cabinet to promote friendly relations and cooperation between Japan and South Korea,” Kang said.
The outgoing prime minister is leaving office due to ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease that already caused him to abandon the premiership in 2007.
In the face of those circumstances, he once again assumed the prime minister’s chair in 2012 and went on to become the longest-serving Japanese head of government.