Yoshihide Suga named Japan's prime minister, succeeding Abe

Elias Hubbard
September 16, 2020

Defence Minister Taro Kono is tipped to be replaced by Abe's brother Nobuo Kishi, who was adopted by his uncle as a child and carries his surname.

Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, announced last month that he was stepping down because of health problems.

He is expected to form a cabinet filled with ministers who served under Abe.

Japan's newly elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga poses for a portrait at his office following a press conference at the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) headquarters in Tokyo on 14 September 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.

Abe said before the change was official that as a lawmaker, he will support Suga's government and he thanked the people for their understanding and strong support for the upcoming leadership under Suga.

He has said that he will pursue Abe's unfinished policies, and that his top priorities will be fighting the coronavirus and turning around an economy battered by the pandemic.

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

On the diplomatic front, Suga is a relative novice, with little foreign policy experience.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, Abe's point man on COVID-19 response, will remain economy minister, while Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama, the son of a politician to whom Suga looked up as his mentor, will also retain his post, media reported.

"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.

He plans to appoint "reform-minded, hard-working people" to the new Cabinet, to be launched later Wednesday.

Suga's cabinet is expected to bring few surprises, with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Finance Minister Taro Aso expected to stay on in their jobs.

Katsunobu Kato, outgoing health minister and a close Suga ally, takes on the challenging post of chief cabinet secretary. And he will have to establish a good relationship with whomever wins the USA presidential race.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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