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Farmer’s son Yoshihide Suga to succeed Shinzo Abe as Japan’s next Prime Minister

Japan's governing party has elected Yoshihide Suga as its new leader paving the way for him to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote this week.

Yoshihide Suga was elected as the new head of Japan’s ruling party on Monday. The move guarantees his parliamentary election as Japan’s next prime minister. Last month Shizo Abe announced his resignation due to health reasons.

Taking over mid-term, Mr. Suga is expected to finish the rest of the current period, until elections in September 2021.

Suga won the vote for the presidency of the conservative Liberal Democratic party by a large margin,
taking 377 of a total of 534 votes from lawmakers and regional representatives. Following his election
as the party leader, another parliamentary vote on Wednesday would most definitely make his appointment as Japan’s next prime minister official.

Suga, 71, who served in the powerful post of chief cabinet secretary during Abe’s nearly eight-year tenure, has said he will pursue his predecessor’s “Abenomics” recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy,
government spending and reform and follow a diplomatic line centered on the U.S.-Japan security alliance reported Reuters.

Suga says that he is a reformist and that he has worked to achieve policies by breaking territorial barriers of bureaucracy. He has credited himself for those efforts in achieving a booming foreign tourism industry in Japan, lowering cellphone bills, and bolstering agricultural exports.

Who is Yoshihide Suga?

Suga a veteran politician is the son of strawberry farmers. Despite his low key image, he has been Shinzo Abe’s right hand since the beginning. His reputation for being efficient, practical, and as a reformist precedes him.

Compared to his political skills at home, Suga has hardly traveled overseas, and his diplomatic skills are unknown, though he is largely expected to pursue Abe’s priorities.

One of his most prominent appearances recently was during the transition from past emperor Akihito to the current one Naruhito in 2019. It fell to Mr. Suga to unveil the name of the new Reiwa era to the Japanese and global public. However, despite his favorable election, leaders are uncertain if he will be helmed as the general electorate candidate for next year.

Japan is currently struggling with its biggest economic crisis while also dealing with the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Under Yoshihide Suga’s leadership, Japan needs a new stable administration to hit the fast forward on its slumping health reform and economy.

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