Yoshihide Suga wins party vote for Japan prime minister

Abe’s ‘loyal right-hand man’ Yoshihide Suga chosen by ruling party to succeed him as Japan’s PM

How Yoshihide Suga defied the odds to become Shinzo Abe's heir apparent

Yoshihide Suga, the newly chosen leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, will retain Taro Aso as finance minister and deputy prime minister after his expected election as prime minister later this week, Nikkei has learned.

Suga is nearly certain to succeed Abe Shinzo as prime minister following a vote in the Diet on Wednesday. Abe announced last month that he would resign due to health problems.

Yoshihide Suga, who is set to become Japan's next prime minister, is considering appointing health minister Katsunobu Kato as Chief Cabinet Secretary while retaining others in key cabinet posts, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday. He also served as deputy chief Cabinet secretary under Suga between 2012 and 2015.

His career in politics began in 1987, when he reportedly wore out half a dozen pairs of shoes while canvassing, successfully, for a seat on the Yokohama city assembly, where he became known as the "shadow mayor".

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"The only reason Suga got the premiership is because he vowed to continue Abe's policies, so for a new prime minister he is unusually constrained by the record and legacy of the previous government", said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University in Tokyo.

As his parents' eldest son, Suga defied tradition by deciding not to take over the family farm.

He has also effectively been the face of Abe's government, serving as its top spokesman and defending decisions in daily press conferences, including in sometimes testy exchanges with reporters. Some bureaucrats who have opposed his policies have reportedly been removed from projects or transferred elsewhere. He also says he seeks to build a nation of "self-support, mutual support then public support", raising concerns of having a vision of a government that is cold to the weak and the needy. He has credited himself for those efforts in achieving a booming foreign tourism industry in Japan, lowering cellphone bills and bolstering agricultural exports.

On foreign policy, Suga will continue to prioritise Japan's security ties with the United States in the face of an assertive China and nuclear-armed North Korea, although he admitted on Sunday that he lacked the "diplomatic skills" that helped Abe forge a close personal relationship with Donald Trump.

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© Provided by The Guardian Merchandise featuring Japan's expected new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is displayed at a store in his home town of Yuzawa.

In addition to the coronavirus and the economic fallout, Suga stands to inherit several other challenges, including China, which continues its assertive actions in the East China Sea. And he will have to build a relationship with whoever wins the USA presidential race.

According to a report in The Mainichi, Suga was relatively unknown until April 2019, when he unveiled the name of the new imperial era that earned him the nickname "Uncle Reiwa". He said he wanted to solve the issue of Japanese nationals captured by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s.

Pourquoi il quitte le JT de 13h — Jean-Pierre Pernaut
Le journaliste est un fidèle de la première chaîne depuis.la première heure! Le nom de son successeur n'est pas encore connu. Néanmoins, le journaliste resterait actif au sein de TF1 en se consacrant à de nouveaux projets au sein de la chaîne.


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