Japanese prime minister hospitalized

Sept. 13, 2007 at 7:48 AM
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TOKYO, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was hospitalized Thursday for treatment of a gastrointestinal disorder, a report said.

Kyodo news service said the 52-year-old Abe, who made a surprise resignation announcement Wednesday without mention of his heath, was described by his doctors at Tokyo’s Keio University Hospital as being ''extremely weak.'' It was later confirmed that health -- Abe had lost 11 pounds in recent months -- was a reason for Abe’s decision.

Dr. Toshifumi Hibi told a news conference that Abe suffered from stomach irritation, pain, poor appetite and other symptoms centering on the duodenum. Fatigue, stress and the prime minister's physical condition were cited as contributing to Abe's monthlong symptoms.

''Priority first and foremost will be on recovering the functional state of the stomach,'' Hibi said, adding the treatment will mainly be centered on medicinal rehabilitation.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano was quoted as saying there are no immediate plans for a replacement to take over Abe's duties since the hospital is close to the prime minister's office and that “the crisis management system will work just fine as usual.”

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