Prime Minister Abe Shinzo intends to resign

Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo intends to step down to deal with a health problem. Abe has told his ruling Liberal Democratic Party officials of his intention to resign.

LDP officials and Abe held an urgent meeting at party headquarters to discuss the prime minister's decision .

He has visited a hospital twice over the past two weeks, fuelling speculation that his health has deteriorated.

Abe has been busy in recent months -- working 147 days straight -- dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters that hit parts of the country earlier this summer.

This is the second time that Abe is to leave the post over a medical issue -- stepping down in 2007, because of his inflammatory bowel disease, after only serving a year in office.

He returned to the top job in 2012 after a landslide election win in the Lower House.

This seven-year tenure makes him Japan's longest-serving prime minister ever.