Tokyo – Yoshihide Suga was elected as the new head of Japan’s ruling party on Monday, but everyone assured that he would become the country’s new prime minister when parliamentary elections take place later in the week.
Despite his low-key image, Suga, 71, has been a key figure in the exit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, serving as the government’s top spokesman in his role as Chief Cabinet Secretary.
Suga’s victory in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party vote actually guaranteed her election on Wednesday in the parliamentary vote due to the LDP’s ruling coalition’s majority.
Suga, the son of a strawberry grower in Akita Prefecture, northern Japan, said he had come a long way. “I will dedicate myself to work for the nation and the people,” he said in his speech.
He has stated that his top priorities will be fighting coronoviruses and turning to a Japanese economy surrounded by an epidemic. He gained the support of the party’s heavyweight and his wing members early in the campaign in the hope that they would continue Abe’s policies.
The Prime Minister of Japan decides everything about the safety of Japan’s ILLNESS
Suga received 377 votes in Monday’s vote to choose Abe’s successor, who announced last month that he would resign due to health problems. Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, one of the other two contenders, received 89 votes, while former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba received 68.
After the vote, Abe said, “Now I am handing over the baton to the new LDP president Suga.” We can count on it.
Suga has been a loyal supporter of Abe since Abe’s first term from 2006 to 2007. Abe’s term came to an abrupt end due to a chronic illness, and Suga helped him return as prime minister in 2012.
Sugga repeatedly praised Abe’s diplomacy and economic policies when asked what he wanted to achieve as Prime Minister. He also said defending scores of partisanship and cronyism scandals, saying the cases were properly investigated.
On the surface, Sugga is known for offering faulty comments in a twice-daily television news briefing.
But behind the scenes, he is known for his iron-fisted approach to using the centralized power of the Prime Minister’s Office to find work as a policy coordinator and influence bureaucrats. Some bureaucrats who have opposed their policies have reportedly been removed from projects or moved elsewhere.
Suga, whose portfolio also includes a ministerial role as head of Okinawa issues in the Abe government, angered local leaders with his high-handed approach to a contentious relocation of the US Marine Air Station on the southern island is. She criticized her hostile response to a female reporter last year asking tough questions about Abe’s policies and scandals.
As the eldest son of his parents, Suga ended the tradition by deciding not to occupy the family farm. Instead, he headed to Tokyo, where he became a self-made politician, a rarity in the largely hereditary occupation of Japan’s politics – and a change from Abi’s nearly eight-year rule, a descendant of a political dynasty.
“Where there is a will, there is a way,” is Suga’s motto. He also said he wants to build a nation of “self-support, mutual support, then public support”, which raises concerns of having a government vision for the weak and needy.
Has come out on display at the Olympiac Museum
Suga says that he is a reformist and has worked to achieve policies by breaking the regional barriers of bureaucracy. He credits those efforts to achieving the rapidly growing foreign tourism industry in Japan, reducing cellphone bills, and boosting agricultural exports. On Monday, he vowed to crack the rules that hampered vested interests and reforms.
Compared to his political acumen at home, Suga has hardly traveled abroad, and his diplomatic skills are unknown, although he has high hopes of pursuing Abe’s priorities.
In addition to the coronavirus and economic decline, Suga stands to face many other challenges, including China, which continues its vocal work in the East China Sea. He also has to decide what to do with the Tokyo Olympics, which was pushed back the following summer due to coronovirus. And he has to establish a good relationship that wins any American presidential race.
Suga is also known for helping to overcome differences by building a close relationship with a centrist alliance partner, Kemito. Analysts say their relationship with more dovish partners may undermine their administration on national security issues.
A man of self-discipline, his routine includes sit-ups and walking – in his business suit in the neighborhood of Parliament so that he can immediately work in emergencies.
But he says he has a weakness: he loves sweet beans, pancakes and Japanese mochi inside with sweet bean paste.
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