Abe remains in hospital

Sept. 18, 2007 at 7:26 AM
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TOKYO, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly was on intravenous drip for the sixth day Tuesday at a Tokyo hospital to treat his stomach ailment.

Kyodo news service quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano as saying the outgoing prime minister's doctors found little improvement in his stress-related ailment.

''But his ability to make decisions is not in any way affected and we continue to be ready whenever he needs to be consulted on issues that require his final judgment,'' Yosano told reporters.

Abe was admitted to the hospital last Thursday.

Yosano was quoted as saying the government had no plans for an interim replacement to handle Abe’s duties as there was “no problem whatsoever with our crisis management planning.” He didn't say when Abe is expected to leave the hospital, noting it will be decided by doctors.

Last Wednesday, Abe, facing scandals in his Cabinet and other problems, abruptly announced his decision to step down only a year after taking office.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is expected to elect a new party leader Sunday, Kyodo said. The new party president is virtually assured of becoming the next prime minister.

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