Aug. 20 (UPI) — Japanese ruling party politicians are dismissing speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is ill following unexplained hospital visits.
Opposition lawmakers, meanwhile, are demanding transparency after a local press report suggested Abe showed symptoms of haematemesis and was seen in July vomiting blood in his official residence.
Fumio Kishida, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Research Council, and Economics Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama met with Abe on Thursday, Kyodo News and NHK reported.
Kishida said he told the prime minister to take better care and go on break if possible. Kishida also said Abe thanked him and said he is in “good shape,” according to reports.
Kishida did not confirm whether Abe was sick but said the prime minister may have “accumulated fatigue.”
Earlier in the week, Abe had dismissed questions about his health, according to the Asahi Shimbun.
Abe had been treated for more than seven hours at Keio University Hospital in Tokyo on Monday, when he received an “additional examination” following a comprehensive physical in June, the report says.
Yukio Edano, the leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said Abe must provide a “proper explanation of all this.”
“Many people have expressed concerns over the matter,” Edano said this week.
Japanese weekly magazine Flash reported Aug. 4 that Abe had been seen “regurgitating blood” in his residence, which also serves as his office, on July 6. Abe has also been seen leaving his food uneaten at various functions, according to Nippon TV.
In September 2007, Abe suddenly resigned from his first term as prime minister. Officials in his party said he was suffering from poor health. Abe was subsequently hospitalized at Keio University Hospital. He may have been suffering from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease with no known cure, according to the Nikkei.
Abe’s approval rating is in the 30% range in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and an economic downturn.