Skip to main content

News | Politics | Japan: Suga elected as Japan's new prime minister

 

5-6 minutes - Source: BBC


Yoshihide Suga Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Yoshihide Suga: From right-hand man to prime minister

Japan's parliament has elected Yoshihide Suga as the country's new prime minister, following the surprise resignation of Shinzo Abe.

After winning the leadership of the governing party earlier this week, Wednesday's vote confirms the former chief cabinet secretary's new position.

A close ally of Mr Abe, the new prime minister is expected to continue his predecessor's policies.

Shinzo Abe announced his resignation last month citing ill health.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Abe held his final cabinet meeting and told reporters he was proud of his achievements during his nearly eight years in power.

Mr Suga then easily won a poll for prime minister in the Diet, Japan's lower house, receiving 314 out of 462 votes.

Given that a coalition headed by his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) holds the majority in the house, his win was widely expected.

Along with his new cabinet he will later be ceremonially endorsed by the emperor at the Imperial Palace.

Challenges ahead

A veteran politician and long-time cabinet member he takes the lead at a difficult time for the world's third-largest economy.

Like many other nations, Japan is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic which has caused the biggest economic slump on record following years of economic stagnations.

The country is also dealing with a rapidly ageing society, with nearly a third of the population older than 65.

Mr Suga has served for years as chief cabinet secretary, the most senior role in government after the prime minister.

He has already promised to carry on much of the previous administration's agenda, including the economic reform programme dubbed Abenomics.

"Mr Suga's election assures the continuity in all the major policy initiatives launched by Shinzo Abe," Yuki Tatsumi, director of the Washington-based Stimson Center's Japan programme, told the BBC.

"What will be the greatest test for him is how well he fares as the public face of the Japanese government," she cautions.

"While his ability as Mr Abe's right hand man and his chief cabinet secretary has been amply proven, his ability to lead the country as the top leader is largely untested, particularly in the area of foreign policy. How Suga can transition from supporting to the main actor will determine how well the leadership transition can be managed."

Who is Yoshihide Suga?

Born the son of strawberry farmers, the veteran politician comes from a humble background that sets him apart from much of Japan's political elite.

The 71-year rose only slowly within the political ranks. He first worked as a secretary for an LDP lawmaker before eventually embarking on his own political career, from city council elections to becoming a member of the Diet in 1996.

In 2005 he became a cabinet minister under Junichiro Koizumi and gained further influence in the subsequent Abe cabinet.

As Mr Abe's right-hand man, he gained a reputation for being efficient and practical and the outgoing prime minister strongly supported his ally's bid for the leadership.

Media captionShinzo Abe stepped down over health reasons

One of his most prominent public appearances was when he unveiled the name of the new Reiwa era during the transition from Emperor Akihito, who abdicated, to his son Naruhito in 2019.

Yet as he takes over mid-term, many observers expect him to only serve out the remainder of that until a general election late next year.

When he won his landslide within the LPD on Monday, all he needed was support from his own party.

Next year's election, however, will put him in front of a general electorate - and the low-key veteran politician might not be the LDP's first choice for that, observers say.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Analysis | The Cybersecurity 202: How the shutdown could make it harder for the government to retain cybersecurity talent

By Joseph Marks 13-17 minutes THE KEY President Trump delivers an address about border security amid a partial government shutdown on Jan. 8. (Carolyn Kaster/AP) The partial government shutdown that's now in its 18th day is putting key cyber policy priorities on hold and leaving vital operations to a bare bones staff. But the far greater long-term danger may be the blow to government cyber defenders' morale, former officials warn. With the prospect of better pay and greater job security in the private sector, more government cyber operators are likely to decamp to industry, those former officials tell me, and the smartest cybersecurity graduates will look to industry rather than government to hone their skills. That’s especially dangerous, they say, considering the government’s struggle to recruit and retain skilled workers amid a nationwide shortage of cybersecurity talent. About 20 percent of staffers are furloughed at the De

Democrats call for investigation into Trump’s iPhone use after a report that China is listening:Analysis | The Daily 202 I The Washington Post.

washingtonpost.com By James Hohmann _________________________________________________________________________________ President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping visit the Great Hall of the People in Beijing last November. (Andrew Harnik/AP) With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve THE BIG IDEA: If Democrats win the House in two weeks, it’s a safe bet that one of the oversight hearings they schedule for early next year would focus on President Trump’s use of unsecured cellphones. The matter would not likely be pursued with anywhere near the gusto that congressional Republicans investigated Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. Leaders of the minority party have higher priorities . But Democratic lawmakers made clear Thursday morning that they will not ignore a New York Times report that Trump has refused to stop using iPhones in the White House, despite repeated warnings from U.S. intelligence offici

RTTNews: Morning Market Briefing.-Weekly Jobless Claims Edge Down To 444,000. May 13th 2010

Morning Market Briefing Thu May 13 09:01 2010   Commentary May 13, 2010 Stocks Poised For Lackluster Open Amid Mixed Market Sentiment - U.S. Commentary Stocks are on pace for a mixed start to Thursday's session, as a mostly upbeat jobs report continued to relieve the markets while some consternation regarding the European debt crisis remained on traders' minds. The major index futures are little changed, with the Dow futures down by 4 points. Full Article Economic News May 13, 2010 Weekly Jobless Claims Edge Down To 444,000 First-time claims for unemployment benefits showed another modest decrease in the week ended May 8th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, although the number of claims exceeded estimates due to an upward revision to the previous week's data. Full Article May 13, 2010 Malaysia's Decade High Growth Triggers Policy Tightening Malaysia's economy grew at the fastest pace in a decade in