Japanese Cabinet Resigns En Masse Ahead of Suga's Assumption of Premiership - Kyodo

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 16, 2020

About half of the new cabinet are carryovers from Abe's administration. Abe's younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, is reportedly tapped as defence minister, replacing Taro Kono who is expected be shifted to administrative reforms minister.

For key Cabinet posts, Suga chose Taro Aso as finance minister, Toshimitsu Motegi as foreign minister and Yasutoshi Nishimura as minister in charge of economic revitalisation and the government's coronavirus response.

Newly elected head of Liberal Democratic Party Yoshihide Suga smiles following his press conference at its headquarters after the party's leadership election in Tokyo on September 14, 2020.

Yoshihide Suga, the newly elected president of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was officially appointed as the country's new prime minister by parliament on Wednesday, becoming the country's first new leader in almost eight years.

Suga, 71, won an easy victory, taking 314 votes of 462 valid ballots cast in the lower house of parliament, where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds a commanding majority with its coalition partner.

Suga, a self-made politician and the son of a strawberry grower in the northern prefecture of Akita, has stressed his background in promising to serve the interests of ordinary people and rural communities. During Tuesday's cabinet meeting, the soon-to-be former PM said his condition was improving, thanking citizens for their support while urging them to get behind his successor.

Suga has said kickstarting the economy will be a top priority, along with containing the virus - essential if the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are to open as planned in July 2021.

Suga gained the support of party heavyweights and their followers early in the campaign on expectations he would continue Abe's line.

"In order to overcome the crisis and give the Japanese people a sense of relief, we need to succeed in what Prime Minister Abe has been implementing", Suga said after being elected LDP leader Monday. Abe's tenure ended abruptly because of illness, and Suga helped him return as prime minister in 2012.

"Abe's administration built political capital for itself with loose monetary and fiscal policies, a balanced and skillful diplomacy with the United States and China, and implementation of flexible domestic politic", he said.

"The ambition of Mr. Suga to speed up and reinvigorate the process (of reform) is absolutely clear, but the next layer of personnel will be interesting", he said.

Compared to his political prowess at home, Suga has hardly travelled overseas and his diplomatic skills are unknown, though he is largely expected to pursue Abe's priorities.

Suga faces numerous challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic, a slumping economy and China's actions in the East China Sea.

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