The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is going to consult with doctors before holding a news conference on Friday, three sources who are familiar with the situation informed Reuters amid the worries about his health after two recent hospital examinations.

Abe is planning to hold the news conference on Friday afternoon, the sources mentioned on Wednesday. He is expected to give an explanation about his health and talk about the handling of the government of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, local media confirmed.

Abe to Consult Doctors Before News Conference

Shinzo Abe
Viral image of Shinzo Abe Twitter grab

The consultations with the doctors on Friday could involve another visit to the hospital or may be carried out by phone, the sources said. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. Abe has been to the hospital twice in the last two weeks, including one visit of 7-1/2 hours. He has not detailed what the visits were for, instead of saying he wanted to take care of his health and do his utmost at his job.

Abe's close ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ally, Akira Amari, sought to dispel qualms over Abe's health on Tuesday, telling Reuters he looked better than in mid-August and would likely fulfil his tenure until September next year. His remarks were echoed on Wednesday by the Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who said Abe looked a "bit tired" over the last two weeks but seemed "very well" on Tuesday and "gave us various instructions in the usual manner."

"We want him to continue to look after his health and show us his leadership," Kyodo news quoted Nishimura as saying during a parliamentary committee meeting. Abe, the country's longest-serving prime minister, has been in the role since 2012. He resigned abruptly from an earlier term in 2007 because of struggles with ulcerative colitis, a disease he has kept in check with medicine that was not previously available.

Criticized for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak and some scandals, Abe has suffered a slide in voter support to one of the lowest levels since returning to the office with promises to revive the economy and bolster the defence.

(With agency inputs)