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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday confirmed that he would not participate in the upcoming elections for the chairman of the country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), thereby announcing his resignation.

“I want to fully concentrate on the fight against coronavirus, so they will not participate in the elections,” he told reporters. “Developing measures against virus and participating in elections require colossal efforts. I cannot do both at the same time, so I had to choose. My duty as head of government is to protect the life and health of the people of our country. " He also promised to hold a press conference next week in connection with the incident.

Japan's Kyodo News reported, that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is due to hold elections on September 29 to elect its president ahead of a general election that must be held as the House of Representatives members' term expires on 21 October this year.

Earlier, the general secretary of the party, Toshihiro Nikai, announced Sugi's non-participation in the election of the head of the LDP.

Suga was appointed prime minister a year ago after the resignation of Shinzo Abe.

Japanese petrochemical stocks rallied following Suga's announcement, with Mitsubishi Chemical up 1.48% and Mitsui Chemicals up 1.86%, and the Nikkei 225 benchmark index up 1.81%.

Tokyo and most of the country are currently in a state of emergency, which expires on 12 September.

The country is struggling with the worst outbreak of COVID-19, the total number of cases on September 1 exceeded 1.5 million.