Mr Abe, who is the longest-serving Prime Minister in Japanese history, saw his health deteriorate after his ulcerative colitis relapsed in June 2020. The 65-year-old announced his intention to resign as PM last Friday (28 Aug), citing his inability to carry out the duties of the office while seeking treatment for his condition. He will remain in office until a successor is chosen by his party.
In an interview with Channel 5 News that same day, Mr Balakrishnan said that he is sorry that Mr Abe is resigning under pressure due to his health. Sharing that the Japanese PM is close with his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, the Foreign Affairs Minister said that Mr Abe has been a very positive force for Singapore-Japan relations.
He said: “We are sorry for his resignation and for the fact that he had to do so under pressure because of his health. To be candid with you, Prime Minister Abe has been a very positive, constructive force for relations between Singapore and Japan. He and our Prime Minister get on very very well, and that has been one big stabilising factor.”
Mr Balakrishnan also gave credit to Mr Abe for leading the effort to establish the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). He recalled:
“When America pulled out, it was Prime Minister Abe’s leadership that got the other eleven members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to proceed, and now today, the CPTPP has been brought into force, ratified by most of its members. This is a compliment to the efforts and the leadership of Prime Minister Abe.”
Praising Mr Abe for the way he shaped Japan, Mr Balakrishnan said: “Of course, within Japan itself, I think everyone will recall Abenomics, and the way he has tried to restructure and to strengthen the economy within Japan. He deserves full credit for it.”
He added: “We will be sorry to see him go, but we wish him all the best and hope he makes a full recovery.” /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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