World leaders wished Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a rapid recovery on Friday and praised his contributions to bilateral relations during his years as Japan’s longest-serving leader.
Abe announced Friday that he is stepping down because of a health problem. He is expected to stay on until a new governing party leader is elected and formally approved by the parliament.
SOUTH KOREA: South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office said Abe dedicated many years to the development of bilateral relations and achieved various meaningful accomplishments as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
It said Seoul will continue to work with Tokyo’s next prime minister and Cabinet to promote friendship and cooperation between the countries.
Relations between South Korea and Japan sank last year to their lowest point in decades as they feuded over trade issues, wartime history and military cooperation.
GERMANY: Longtime German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has worked with Abe during both of his spells in office, said she regrets his resignation.
Shinzo Abe has been the longest-serving prime minister of Japan, so he has helped shape Japan’s history, Merkel told reporters in Berlin.
He was always someone who advocated multilateralism and made clear over the great distance between Germany and Japan our common basis of values.
She added, I wish him all the best from the bottom of my heart and thank him for working well together.
TAIWAN: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Abe has always been very friendly to Taiwan. He has always been very positive, no matter it be his policies or his feelings toward Taiwanese people. We cherish the friendship he has for Taiwan. We also wish him good health.
CHINA: Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian declined to comment directly on Abe’s health, saying it was Japan’s internal affair. However, he added that China and Japan are close neighbours. We are willing to work with Japan to jointly press ahead with continuous improvement and development of China-Japan relations.
BRITAIN: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab paid tribute to the great things that Abe has achieved, and said he “leaves a strengthened UK-Japanese friendship, which we look forward to continuing in the years ahead. I wish him well for the future.
PHILIPPINES: Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr described Abe as Japan’s greatest postwar PM (prime minister) in a tweet. He said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Abe had a frank relationship.
Watching President Duterte and PM Abe talking was like watching two old friends, no holds barred, talking frankly and freely of the true lay of the land and what can and cannot be done, Locsin said.
INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: IOC President Thomas Bach credited Abe with the return of the Olympics to Japan after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics. All the Japanese athletes and the athletes of the entire world are very grateful to him, Bach said. The Olympics were to be held in Tokyo this year but were postponed a year because of the coronavirus.
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