On Aug 28, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press conference to officially announce that he would resign due to his poor conditions.
According to the head of the Japanese government, he decided to resign because he did not want his illness to lead to mistakes in important decisions. Shinzo Abe said that he cannot be prime minister if he cannot make the best decisions for the Japanese people.
Mr Abe’s health condition, he said, has begun to decline since mid-July and that treatment needs to be continued. So he won’t have enough time to lead Japan.
From Hanoi, Professor Nguyen Khac Mai, former director of Research Department, Central Committee for Public Affairs and chairman of Minh Triet Center, said that Shinzo Abe’s resignation decision was an act of a civilized society. Mr. Mai commented:
“That means he is very responsible to his people and the government and his people. If people are not healthy enough anymore, they need to be replaced by other who are healthy and strong enough to row the ship to bring the country and the nation to development. It is a happiness of the Japanese nation, Japan. Unlike the guys in Vietnam, who are old, forget it first, but still cling to the position but do not work out of place. It would be a misfortune for a country like Vietnam not to have such a person (like Mr. Abe), self-esteem, humility, knowing when to stop, when to rest, that is called a person who is intellectual and virtuous.”
Still according to Professor Mai, through the Japanese Prime Minister’s resignation out of fear of not fulfilling his responsibilities, the Hanoi government leaders need to see it as a great lesson to learn more about how to behave.
Talking with RFA on the evening of August 28, independent journalist Ngo Nhat Dang gave his opinion on the Japanese PM’s decision to resign and Vietnamese leadership’s attitude.
“We see a difference between the two systems. The leader of the country will of course a hard work because leading a country is very important, having hard duties to run the whole country. In terms of health, if not stable, how can be capable in management. Whereas in Vietnam we also see most leaders sitting in positions for life and this attitude is not beneficial for the country. We see that the difference between the health of leaders lies in national secrets. We are used to not knowing how the health of the leaders is. It is very dangerous job.”
Recently, many unofficial sources about the deteriorating health situation of General Secretary cum State President Nguyen Phu Trong have been widely circulated.
Specifically, rumors of Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong being hospitalized on the morning of April 14 while visiting Kien Giang province were widely spread on websites and forums.
Domestic media did not see the image of Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong when reporting on meetings and events.
Until April 25, responding to reporters at a regular press conference, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said verbatim as follows: “Due to the high work intensity, the changing weather has affected the health of General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong. Mr. Trong will soon return to normal work.”
Then, the State of Vietnam newspaper has a news video on May 14 showing General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong presiding over a key leadership meeting in Hanoi.
However, the number of recorded public appearances of Mr. Trong is still very limited.
According to journalist Ngo Nhat Dang, failure to disclosing the health of leadership can cause many negative effects on the country’s situation. He argued:
“At present, the regime is empowering Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary and President. We see a lot of problems in the country up to now, from pandemics, natural calamities, economic development, but we have never seen a head of state appear until now, how could the country overcome. The absent head of state abandoned his responsibility to lead his country, the leader gave up the right to lead the country that wanted economic degradation. I think this situation will cause instability for the nation.”
Sharing the same point of view above, Professor Nguyen Khac Mai stated:
“Vietnam considers the health of leadership a secret. Why do they want to keep that secret? Because the root is that they want to take the power to hold the position, not to give the position to anyone. It is a bad habit, with poor morality acting out that natural leadership health becomes a national secret.”
Therefore, from a personal point of view, journalist Ngo Nhat Dang said that, from a small story like the publicity of leadership health that the Hanoi government had ignored, the leadership resigned due to health reasons is more unlikely:
“We should consider thinking in a very normal way that a country operator is like a company operator, for example, the general director when his health is gone, he cannot run the company anymore. But we also see that the ruling regime shows such a situation, that people consider political activities to be practically unnecessary. The Party considers political power as its monopoly, so it is very difficult to voluntarily resign. When they are one-party, and the ideology, they certainly won’t have to voluntarily resign.”
Not only in Japan, many politicians in other countries also resigned due to health reasons. Greek Finance Minister Vassilios Rapanos in June 2012 resigned due to health reasons after his hospital admission, or Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra filed his resignation for health reasons in 2017.
However, in Vietnam, many experts commented that leaders resigned themselves for health reasons, in fact, most of them were those who made mistakes and wanted to avoid being punished for their wrongdoings.