International reaction to resignation of Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe

TOKYO (REUTERS) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the nation’s longest serving premier, said on Friday (Aug 28) he is resigning due to health reasons.

Here’s what some international leaders and businesspeople are saying.


Mr Kang Min-seok, South Korea’s presidential Blue House spokesman:

South Korea said the sudden resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came as a regret as he has played an important role for bilateral relations.

South Korea will continue cooperation with Japan’s new leader and Cabinet to further improve ties between the two countries.


Mr Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman:

“This is an internal affair of Japan and we will not comment. China and Japan are close neighbours, and China is willing to work with Japan to continue to promote the development of China-Japan relations.”


Prime Minister Scott Morrison

“Prime Minister Abe is a man of integrity and wisdom. He has been the senior statesman in our region and across the globe, a strong promoter of open trade and an outstanding international diplomat for Japan. He has advocated for the region’s prosperity and stability, bringing his leadership as an experienced statesman of the first order.

“Prime Minister Abe steps down as a regional leader having made unprecedented contributions, particularly as we respond to the health and economic impacts of Covid-19.”


President Tsai Ing-wen

“Prime Minister Abe was always friendly to Taiwan, whether on policy or the rights and interests of Taiwan’s people – he was extremely positive. We value his friendly feelings towards Taiwan and hope he is healthy.”

Mr Kwon Tae-shin, vice-chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries, a South Korean business lobby group

“President Moon Jae-in and Abe do not have good personal relationship, which contributed to adverse bilateral ties. When a new leader takes office in Japan, he can give momentum to improving bilateral relations.

“The two countries acknowledge that unnecessary diplomatic and trade conflicts would not help each other at a time when Covid -19 further adds difficulty to trade and business activities globally.”

Mr Marcus Schurmann, chief executive of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan

“He did a lot of good with regard just to the fact that he was one of the key promoters for multilateralism and free trade and did a lot to move to Japan back onto the world stage. Japan recovered the visibility and recognition the third-largest economy in the world deserves.

“We have FTAs (free trade agreements) and he also tackled a lot of difficult problems. Just thinking about relations with China, relations also with Russia, and also the difficult relationship with the US at least since Trump came into power.

“I do not want to say he failed, but at least what is an unsolved problem is the relationship with Korea. I think that’s the kind of problem which his successor has to work on.

“He succeeded in bringing the Olympics to Tokyo. I think this is also a major achievement we should not forget.”

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