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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to resign, reports say

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to resign for health reasons, local media reported Friday.

Abe plans to step down to deal with a health problem, national broadcaster NHK reported citing sources close to the prime minister. Kyodo News also reported that Abe plans to resign, citing a source from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Reuters reported that a source close to a senior party official said Abe’s resignation was “a done deal.” 

CNBC has not independently confirmed the reports.

Abe had been scheduled to hold a press conference at 5 p.m. local time.

Stocks in Japan briefly fell after the reports and the yen strengthened against the dollar, trading at 106.2.  

Those reports come after Abe’s recent hospital visits, which spurred concerns about his health. The Japanese leader visited a hospital twice in the last two weeks, according to NHK. 

Abe suffers from a chronic inflammatory bowel disease and had to previously step down as prime minister in 2007 following a flare up, Reuters reported. He returned to the top job after his party registered a landslide election victory in 2012. 

Abe’s current term does not end until 2021.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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