Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who stunned the country a day earlier by announcing that he will not seek re-election as the ruling party’s leader, visited a Tokyo hospital for a “medical checkup” Saturday morning, an aide said.
“He has been working nonstop until now, so he took advantage [of the lull in his schedule] to have a checkup,” the aide said. “It’s not a thorough medical check-up, but rather a physical examination. There are no problems with his health.”
Suga was due to return to his residence in the afternoon, the aide added. Suga also had a more thorough annual medical check-up on April 24 and took part in a follow-up exam on Aug. 21, according to daily logs of his activities.
Ahead of Friday’s announcement — which effectively means that his term as prime minister will end this month — Suga had rarely taken a day off, meeting with officials, including health ministry bureaucrats in charge of the coronavirus response, at the Prime Minister’s Office on weekends. Suga had worked 154 consecutive days as of last Sunday until finally taking a full day off.
Suga himself said late last month that his health was good despite being unable to take time off for a summer vacation. In addition to a surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, the prime minister had been busy with the government’s response to heavy rains and flooding in parts of Japan during the Bon holidays.
Suga’s hospital visit evoked memories of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who visited a hospital twice in the span of eight days just over a year ago ahead of his stunning resignation from the prime ministership over his longtime battle with ulcerative colitis, a chronic, inflammatory disease of the large intestine.
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