Japan’s leader says hospital trip was just for a checkup

He is the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history

Tokyo:  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brushed off lingering worries about his health Wednesday, saying he went to the hospital for a checkup.

I got a checkup a day before yesterday to make sure I’m healthy, he told reporters. I’m getting back to work now, and I hope to keep working hard. Thank you. He walked off, without responding to reporters’ follow-up questions about the checkup.

Abe was seen Monday sitting in a car that drove into Keio University Hospital in Tokyo, then emerging several hours later. At that time, neither he nor his office made comments.

The visit raised a flurry of speculation in Japanese media about his health, coming after a top ruling party politician said publicly that Abe was overworked and needed rest.

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Abe, 65, stepped down in 2007, during his earlier stint as prime minister, citing health problems, but was elected for the second time as a leader in 2012.

He is the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history. Japan is a nation known for having leaders serving relatively short periods, often resigning amid scandal. 

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