Former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, expressing grief over the death of former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, shared an incidence when despite the latter’s ill health during his visit to India in 2007 he did not let anyone know about it.
Reacting on national mourning of one day in India, Kumar said that this decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be appreciated, Abe was not an ordinary person.
“He was not only the Prime Minister of Japan but also a good friend of India. I had a relationship with him and we met several times. He was the master of his humility and human dignity, this was his best quality,” Kumer added.
“It is hard to find any other example in the history of the world when a prime minister of a powerful country like Japan resigns from his post not once but twice due to health reasons. In 2007, when Prime Minister Abe came to India for the first time, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh gave me the opportunity to be with him during the visit. I, Abe, and his wife were sitting in his car… I have seen him very closely,” Kumar recalled.
“When he gave a speech in Parliament in August 2007, he was praised in India, Japan and all over the world. As soon as he returned to Japan, he resigned from his post because he had a stomach problem.”
“However, after recovering from stomach problem, once again he took the responsibility as the Prime Minister. Later, he again resigned from the post due to the same problem, and had said that his health condition is not good enough to serve his country,” the former minister recalls.
“I remember he used to have a lot of pain in his stomach, and his wife used to look at him and gather courage, but he never let anyone know about the pain,” he added.
Kumar also mentioned that when Abe was not the Prime Minister, “he had come to meet me, and after listening to his thoughts, I had told him to become the Prime Minister once again, at which he smiled”.