Yoshihide Suga Confirmed as Japan’s New Prime Minister
Yoshihide Suga was elected as Japan’s next prime minister by the country’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday, replacing Shinzo Abe who resigned because of poor health and promising to continue his signature economic policies.
Suga, long a loyal aide and chief cabinet secretary under outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on Monday won a landslide victory to take over the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He pledged to carry on many of Abe’s programmes, including his signature “Abenomics” economic strategy.
He faces a vast array of challenges, including tackling COVID-19 while reviving a battered economy and dealing with a rapidly aging society in which nearly a third of the population is older than 65.
The world’s third-largest economy shrank a record 27.8 percent from April to June this year compared with the previous quarter due to pandemic-related lockdowns that were only relaxed in late May.
The fight against the coronavirus will be a priority, but he has also signalled a continuation of the broad policy framework of Abenomics, the three-pronged strategy that was Abe’s signature policy and that involved monetary easing, government spending and structural reform.
He is also expected to push forward with his own initiatives including bureaucratic reform, digitalisation, and helping Japan’s rural communities through policies on agriculture and tourism.
The former Chief Cabinet Secretary and Abe loyalist will announce his cabinet later on Wednesday and is expected to keep many of Abe’s team in place.
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