Yoshihide Suga elected for the leadership of Japan’s ruling LDP party
Yoshihide Suga has been elected leader of Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). With the top position, Suga is expected to become the country’s prime minister in an upcoming parliamentary vote to be held on Wednesday.
As expected, Suga easily won Monday’s internal vote to pick a successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced in August that he would step down due to health problems.
Suga, who was formerly the chief Cabinet secretary and Abe’s right-hand man, received 377 votes from party lawmakers and regional representatives out of a total of 534.
Given the LDP’s legislative majority, Suga is expected to handily win a parliamentary vote on Wednesday.
What is Suga’s Strategy?
Suga has said his top priorities are fighting the coronavirus and turning around an economy battered by the pandemic.
He has specifically said his candidacy was motivated by a desire to continue the outgoing prime minister’s programmes.
The son of a strawberry farmer, Suga was raised in Japan’s northern Akita region, and the issues of rural areas suffering depopulation are said to be among his top concerns.
Who is Yoshihide Suga?
Suga grew up the son of a strawberry farmer in rural Akita, in northern Japan.
He moved to Tokyo after high school and worked odd jobs to put himself through night college. He was elected to his first office in 1987, as a municipal assembly member in Yokohama outside Tokyo.
He won a lower house seat in 1996 and in 2012 Abe appointed Suga to his former chief cabinet secretary position.
Suga says that he is a reformist and that he has worked to achieve policies by breaking through bureaucracy. He credited himself for those efforts in achieving a booming foreign tourism industry in Japan, lowering cellphone bills and bolstering agricultural exports.
In addition to the coronavirus and the economic fallout, Suga is set to preside over several other challenges, including China’s assertive actions in the East China Sea. He also will have to decide what to do with the Tokyo Olympics that were pushed back to next summer due to the coronavirus.
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