(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte hoped for Japan’s Shinzo Abe’s “speedy and full recovery” as he expressed “much regret” over his resignation as prime minister.
According to the President, “through many years” of his engagement with Abe, he “has never seen a leader with a bold vision and firm determination to do what was best for his country and the region.”
“The bilateral relations between the Philippines and Japan, now a strategic partnership, greatly flourished during his tenure,” President Duterte said, noting that “what we have worked for and achieved together lays the foundation for an even closer friendship and cooperation between our countries in the future.”
He said Abe was “also gracious, accepting my invitation my invitation to Davao City where I and Honeylet welcomed him and Madame Akie warmly to my humble home.”
“He is–to me and the Filipino people–a true friend closer than a brother,” the President said.
Abe, who was Japan’s longest-serving premier, announced he was resigning on Friday, citing his poor health.
He had been battling ulcerative colitis for years, with two recent hospital visits leading to questions if he would be able to finish his term as leader of Japan’s ruling party, and therefore as Japan’s prime minister, until September 2021.
With his resignations, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is expected to hold elections for a new leader who will assume Abe’s post until the end of his term.