Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, said he’s “not thinking” of staying on as ruling party leader beyond the end of his current term in September 2021.
Some in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have called for Abe to continue for a fourth straight term as party president, and thus prime minister, because of his record six straight election victories.
“I’m really not thinking of that,” Abe said in an interview with national broadcaster NHK, recorded before his departure to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman over the weekend. “It’s not in any corner of my mind.”
He’s also not thinking about calling an election at present, but said he wouldn’t hesitate to do so when the time is right.
Other highlights from the interview:
Abe said he will continue efforts to improve Japan’s fiscal situation.
He said the sales tax won’t be raised again before the end of his term.
He claimed that the economy is gradually continuing to recover.
His biggest economic effort will be to ensure a swift approval of the budget.
His government will seek to improve relations with South Korea.
He said South Korea’s asset seizure is in breach of the two nations’ settlement agreement.
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