JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo joined a number of world leaders in wishing outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe well after the 66-year-old retired due to a chronic illness.
“PM Abe was one of the first world leaders I met when I took office as President of Indonesia,” tweeted Jokowi on his Twitter account @jokowi on August 28.
“Under his leadership, we witness stronger bilateral relations between Indonesia-Japan. Thank you PM @AbeShinzo @JPN_PMO for your friendship. Wishing you good health always.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi echoed Jokowi’s well-wishes. “Pained to hear about your ill health, my dear friend @AbeShinzo,” he tweeted on his Twitter account @narendramodi.
“In recent years, with your wise leadership and personal commitment, the India-Japan partnership has become deeper and stronger than ever before. I wish and pray for your speedy recovery.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Russian President Vladimir Putin also wished Abe well. Abe was forced to retire due to ulcerative colitis, a disease which chronically plagued him since junior high school.
The disease troubled Abe since he was a child and cut short his first stint as Japanese Prime Minister between 2006 and 2007. His second run for the office between 2012 and 2020 made Abe the longest tenured Prime Minister in Japan’s post-war history.
Indonesia played a balancing act in the regional rivalry between Japan and China in the Asia-Pacific region during Abe's time as prime minister, much like they did with his predecessors.