Yoshihide Suga, Son of a Farmer Who Will Become Prime Minister of Japan
Windowofworld.com – Yoshihide Suga, Japan chief cabinet secretary for nearly eight years, has been elected chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He will practically be approved by the lower house of parliament as the next prime minister (PM) to replace Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on Wednesday (9/16/2020) tomorrow.
The previous chair of the LDP was Abe. However, Abe resigned as PM of Japan a few weeks ago citing health problems. Abe’s resignation at the same time forced the LDP to elect a new chairman and Suga was elected.
During his tenure as chief Japanese cabinet secretary, Suga has acted as the de facto second person in the Japanese government. He answers complex questions at twice-daily press conferences, advises Abe on policy and curbs on Japan’s stubborn bureaucracy.
Suga has emerged as the clear favorite to replace Abe since gaining support from the main LDP factions. Suga beat his rivals in the race for the chair of the LDP such as the head of party policy; Fumio Kishida and former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba.
The 71-year-old Suga is widely seen as a candidate for Abe’s successor, a label he did little to contradict during his leadership bid. He said his predecessor’s economic policies – a combination of hefty government spending, straightforward monetary policy and structural reforms – would remain untouched.
“The only reason Suga got the prime ministerial post was because he vowed to continue Abe’s policies, so for the new prime minister he is severely constrained by the records and legacy of the previous administration,” said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University in Tokyo.
“After taking over as Abe’s chief defender, Suga cannot deny Abe and push for a major policy transformation without causing harsh criticism. His hands are tied, “he said, as quoted by The Guardian, Tuesday (9/15/2020).
Regarding foreign policy, Suga will continue to prioritize Japan’s security relationship with the United States (US) in the face of assertive China and nuclear-armed North Korea, although he admitted on Sunday that he lacks the “diplomatic skills” that help Abe forge personal ties. who is closely related to US President Donald Trump.
Despite his close political ties with Abe, Suga’s background is very different. As the son of a foreign minister and grandson of the prime minister, Abe stands out even in a parliament filled with politicians of descent. Suga, however, is an independent politician, the eldest son of a strawberry farmer and teacher in Yuzawa, a town in rural Akita prefecture. Suga has no political pedigree, but he is now at the cusp of leading the world’s third-largest economy.
“He’s very quiet,” said Hiroshi Kawai, a former high school classmate when talking about Suga. He’s someone you wouldn’t notice if he was there or not.
After graduating from high school in Yuzawa — where his name is now emblazoned on T-shirts and tote bags — Suga went to Tokyo, where he took a series of part-time jobs, including working in a carton factory and the Tsukiji fish market, to pay for his tuition fees.
His career in politics began in 1987, when he reportedly wore half a dozen shoes while seeking a seat in the Yokohama city assembly, where he was known as the “shadow mayor”.
Tobias Harris, a Japan expert at Teneo Intelligence in Washington who is also the author of a new book on Abe, said Suga’s status as an outsider could help Abe relatively well as he tries to distance Japan from a prolonged recession made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
“If Suga survives, it will be partly because he is not a hereditary politician,” Harris said. “Having made it through politics, he is ready to work harder and be more connected to voters than Abe. In his own political career, and as Abe’s top adviser, he is constantly focused on the pocketbook issues that most voters concern.”
Suga’s political fate has been closely tied to Abe since he won the lower house seat in 1996, and many have cited him as a major influence in Abe’s decision to run for prime minister for the second time after a disastrous first term in office after just one year. .
Although Suga spends hours briefing, and occasionally clashes with political journalists, his expressionless delivery offers little insight into the person behind the public persona.
But since announcing his candidacy in late August, he has undergone a modest image change. He was previously an unpredictable figure of political enforcer.
“That an ordinary person like me can try to become prime minister … that’s Japanese democracy, right?” he said at the start of his campaign.
At 71 years old, Suga is the oldest of the three candidates, but his tireless work ethic is said to transcend his life in politics. She admits to her weakness for pancakes, but she reportedly burns the extra calories starting and ending each day with 100 sit-ups.