Yoshihide Suga, the chief Cabinet secretary of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was elected Sept. 14 by ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers and representatives as the party’s new president, setting him on course to become Japan’s next leader.
In a vote at a meeting of LDP lawmakers of both chambers of parliament, Suga easily beat his two rivals — former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida — as he pledged to keep a good balance between fighting the coronavirus pandemic and promoting economic activities.
A majority of the LDP’s factions gave the top government spokesman their backing after Abe said last month he would step down for health reasons, resulting in Suga receiving 377 votes, Kishida 89, and Ishiba 68.
Calling the spread of the novel coronavirus a national crisis, Suga said, “We must inherit and promote the efforts that Prime Minister Abe has made so that people can overcome the crisis and live a safe and stable life.”
Suga, 71, also said he will proceed with government reforms and deregulation in Japan.
Suga’s term as LDP president is limited to the remainder of Abe’s current three-year term through September 2021. (Kyodo)