Japan’s leader visits hospital, raising health concerns

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to a hospital on Monday for what Japanese media said was a regular health checkup, although the visit generated renewed concerns about his health.

Videos of Abe being driven in a car to Keio University Hospital in Tokyo on Monday morning were widely shown on Japanese TV news reports. Public broadcaster NHK TV later showed him leaving the hospital at about 6 p.m.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the hospital visit, saying it was not on his official schedule. Abe has been on a summer break recently, as has much of Japan.

A governing party lawmaker, Akira Amari, remarked on television over the weekend that Abe feels guilty about taking time off but needs rest.

Abe, 65, has had health concerns before. He stepped down in 2007 during an earlier stint as prime minister, citing health problems.

Kyodo News said the visit was part of a regular checkup Abe gets about twice a year.

Although Abe sometimes goes to his summer home in the countryside about this time of year, he has stayed in Tokyo amid widespread concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, according to Kyodo.

Abe is the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history.

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