Shinzo Abe steps down as Japan’s longest serving leader

Shinzo Abe is expected to stand down as prime minister of Japan on Friday evening because of a worsening medical condition, according to NHK, the country’s national broadcaster.

His resignation, expected to be announced at a press conference at 5pm local time, will end an eight-year term in office during which he brought stability to Japanese politics and became the longest-serving leader in his nation’s history.

His departure will set off a rapid process to replace him. Only parliamentarians in his ruling Liberal Democratic Party will be able to vote, favouring whichever candidate Mr Abe backs.

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