Suga launches new LDP leadership

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 15, 2020

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 has also promised to continue his predecessor's economic policy "Abenomics" that focused on Japan's economic revival and combined structural reform, monetary easing and fiscal expansion, with the goal to increase domestic demand.

Positions in the LDP leadership reshuffle were spread between the five factions that backed Suga in the presidential election with the exception of Noda, who is unaffiliated.

© 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.

Mr Suga, however, has made no secret of the fact that he comes from more humble origins: he is the son of a strawberry farmer and a teacher from a small rural city Yuzawa, in Japan's northern prefecture Akita.

The expected victory in the party vote by Suga, now the chief Cabinet secretary, all but guarantees his election in a parliamentary vote because of the majority held by the Liberal Democrats' ruling coalition.

"Having served as Abe's defender-in chief, Suga can not disown Abe and push through major policy transformation without incurring strong criticism".

While during his days as a student, Suga showed little interest in the student protests against the security alliance between Japan and the U.S. and the Vietnam War, he gradually became interested in politics and successfully ran for the Yokohama city assembly in 1987 and entered national politics in 1996.

Suga won a lower house seat in 1996 and was a long-time backer of Abe, pushing him to stand for a second term despite his disastrous first run in office, which ended after just a year.

© Thomson Reuters Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga gestures during his regular news conference at the Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, September 14, 2020.

He has said that his top priorities will be fighting the coronavirus and turning around a Japanese economy battered by the pandemic.

"If Suga lasts, it will be in part due to not being a hereditary politician", Harris said.

In an interview Suga gave to the Japan Times last Saturday, he said he hoped to amend the Constitution of Japan that has not been amended since it took effect in 1947 and was one of Abe's long-held goals.

Despite the many hours Suga spent briefing, and occasionally clashing, with political journalists, his impassive delivery offered few insights into the man behind the public persona.

"That a regular person like me can seek to become a prime minister ... that's exactly Japan's democracy, isn't it?" he said at the start of his campaign.

He has allowed only occasional glimpses into his personal life with his family far from the spotlight, but revealed in interviews that he bookends his day with 100 sit-ups in the morning and 100 in the evening, and has a weakness for pancakes.

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