Japan’s governing party has elected Yoshihide Suga as its new leader to succeed Shinzo Abe, which he is almost sure to become the country’s second prime minister.
Considering that the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) legislative majority, the present chief cabinet secretary will handily win a parliamentary vote on Wednesday and triumph Shinzo Abe, who’s stepping down as prime minister to health reasons.
As chief cabinet secretary for nearly eight years, Suga has acted since the government’s de facto second-in-command, batting off catchy questions at twice-daily press briefings, advising Abe on coverage and reining in Japan’s recalcitrant bureaucracy.
Japan's next PM set to be Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga after ruling party picks him to succeed Shinzo Abe https://t.co/tOnRSilWpI— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) September 14, 2020
Suga has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Abe, who is resigning on health grounds, since securing the aid of key LDP factions.
“I will dedicate myself to function for the nation and the individuals,” he explained in his victory speech.
He has stated that his top priorities are fighting with the coronavirus and turning to a Japanese economy battered by the pandemic
Mr Suga had obtained the assistance of party heavyweights early in the campaign on expectations he would continue Mr Abe’s policies.
His success is apparently a lot has increased criticism from within and outside the celebration that the process is undemocratic and murky.
BREAKING: Yoshihide Suga set to become Japan's prime minister after winning LDP election https://t.co/BW4tMfJH94— The Japan Times (@japantimes) September 14, 2020
The closed-door politics also apparently led MPs to encourage Mr Suga from the hopes of carrying favourable party and cabinet posts in his new government.
Mr Abe said, following the election:”Now I’m handing the baton into brand new party leader Suga.
“We could count on him”
Suga is broadly predicted to keep the policy path set from his predecessor, claiming Abe’s financial strategy – a variety of pro-growth stimulation policies called”Abenomics”.
Yoshihide Suga: The strawberry farmer's son on track to be Japan's PM https://t.co/QrvbOikYnt— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 14, 2020
“Suga will carry on the eyesight Abe is handing over to him,” said Takashi Ryuzaki, a political analyst and former writer, told Reuters news agency. “So there’s absolutely not any demand for Suga to possess his own eyesight.”
For the past eight decades, Suga has been the public face of the Abe government as the government’s top spokesman but kept a relatively low profile.
He became better known to the people last year when he had been the one to unveil the title of the new imperial era, Reiwa, a celebratory moment that marked the ascension of the new emperor and went viral, earning him the nickname”Uncle Reiwa”.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga won a landslide victory in a ruling party leadership election, paving the way for him to replace Shinzo Abe as prime minister later this week https://t.co/VCRXo5kmAv pic.twitter.com/NZlcXularH— Reuters (@Reuters) September 14, 2020
Behind the scenes, both analysts and associates state Suga has been instrumental in altering components of decision-making out of Japan’s provincial bureaucracy into the prime minister division and taming factional rivalries within the LDP.
“Without any knowledge or blood flow, I launched into the world of politics, beginning from zero – and also have been able to eventually become leader of the LDP, together with all its customs and history”
When he announced his bid a week, Suga also spoke about growing up in a farming community.
Breaking News: Japan’s governing party has all but assured that Yoshihide Suga will become prime minister. Here’s what we know about Shinzo Abe’s successor. https://t.co/oBpcGKwWwX— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 14, 2020
“He had been really silent,” said Hiroshi Kawai, a former high school classmate who lives in Suga’s hometown of Yuzawa and functions as a local tour guide. “He was a person you would not see if he had been or not.”
Suga left town soon after finishing high school and functioned in a cardboard mill in Tokyo to conserve money for college.
After graduation, he worked as a secretary for a dominant national lawmaker from Yokohama, home to Japan’s busiest port.
“The sole reason Suga got the premiership is because he pledged to continue Abe’s policies, therefore for a brand new prime minister he’s unusually constrained from the record and heritage of the preceding administration,” said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University in Tokyo.
“Having served as Abe’s defender-in main, Suga can’t disown Abe and push major coverage transformation without needing strong criticism. His hands are tied.”
On foreign policy, Suga will last to prioritise Japan’s security ties with the US in the face of an assertive China and also nuclear-armed North Korea, though he admitted on Sunday he lacked the”diplomatic skills” that helped Abe forge a close relationship with Donald Trump.
Regardless of his close political association by Abe, Suga’s history could not be more different. As the son of a foreign minister and grandson of a prime minister, Abe stands out even in a parliament filled with biblical politicians. Suga, however, is a self-made politician, the eldest son of a strawberry farmer and teacher in Yuzawa, a city in rural Akita prefecture, who despite his own lack of political pedigree is currently on the cusp of major the world’s third-biggest economy.
“He had been really quiet,” Hiroshi Kawai, also a former high school classmate, said of Suga. “He was a person you wouldn’t see if he was or not.”
After graduating from high school in Yuzawa — by which his name is now emblazoned on T-shirts and tote bags — Suga travelled to Tokyo, where he took a series of part-time jobs, including stints at a cardboard factory and Tsukiji fish market, to cover his way through university.
His career in politics began in 1987, when he allegedly wore out half a dozen pairs of shoes while canvassing, successfully, to get a seat on the Yokohama city meeting, where he became famous as the”shadow mayor”.
Suga’s status as a relative outsider could serve him well as he tries to maneuver Japan out of a prolonged recession worsened by the coronavirus stunt, according to Tobias Harris, a Japan expert at Teneo Intelligence at Washington and the author of a new book on Abe.
“In case Suga continues, it will be in part because of not being a stunt that is poignant,” Harris explained. “Having worked his way through politics, he is well prepared to work more difficult and will be better able to get in touch with voters than Abe was. In his political career, and as Abe’s principal adviser, he’s focused on the pocketbook issues that concern Republicans”
Suga’s political fortunes have been tied to Abe because he won a lower house seat in 1996, and many cite him as the primary influence in Abe’s choice to run for prime minister a second time after a first stage in office that ended disastrously after only a year.
Regardless of the numerous hours Suga spent briefing, and occasionally clashing, together with political journalists, even his impassive delivery provided few insights into the man behind the public character.
However, since announcing his candidacy in the end of August, he’s undergone a modest image shift, from inscrutable political enforcer whose most memorable public act thus far has been announcing the title of this new Reiwa era this past calendar year, into the nearest Japan’s dominant conservative party has to the man on the Tokyo omnibus.
“a regular person like me can try to be a prime minister… that’s just Japan’s democracy, isn’t it?” He explained at the start of his effort.
In 71, Suga is the oldest of the 3 candidates, but his tireless work ethic is supposed to extend past his life in politics. While he’s confessed to some weakness for pancakes, he reportedly burns off the extra calories by starting and ending each day with 100 sit-ups.