Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a Tokyo hospital Saturday, the first time he has returned since his surprise announcement last month that he will step down due to his battle with a chronic disease.

According to the the Prime Minister’s Office, Abe spent about four hours at Keio University Hospital receiving treatment for ulcerative colitis, the intestinal disease he suffers from. It was his third visit to the hospital in recent weeks.

At an Aug. 28 news conference, he said the need to undergo treatment of the condition with a new drug was a main reason for his resignation. Abe visited the hospital on Aug. 17 and 24 as he was experiencing a flare-up of the disease that also caused his abrupt resignation as prime minister in 2007 after just one year on the job.

On returning to power in 2012, he said he had overcome the illness with the help of a new drug.

Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is set to elect on Monday his successor as party leader, who will then be installed as Japan’s prime minister in a Diet session two days later.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.