It has been practically determined that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga would be the next prime minister of Japan. The main faction of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has expressed support for Suga as the next president of the party and the party has decided to elect its next leader through informal voting, rather than voting by all members. Under the country’s cabinet system, the president of the ruling party is elected as the prime minister.
Suga has been closely assisting former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by taking the position of a chief cabinet secretary in December 2012 when the Abe administration was launched. The term of a prime minister is three years, but the chief cabinet secretary will hold the position for only about a year as the switch is due to the resignation of the former prime minister. It is expected that he will inherit most of the Abe administration’s policies, including diplomatic policies toward South Korea.
According to NHK, the Liberal Democratic Party decided to hold a general affairs council meeting and elect the party’s new leader through a general meeting of the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors attended by both House members (394 votes) and the representatives of municipal governments (141 votes). Earning the majority vote at the general meeting to be held on September 14 will grant the appointment of the party’s next leader.
If Prime Minister Abe is an “offense” in terms of policies, Suga is a “defender.” While Abe was causing conflicts with neighboring countries with regards to historical issues and visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, Secretary Suga played the role of a brake. There was an anecdote where Suga asked for caution when Abe made an emotional remark at the Cabinet asking what is wrong with Cabinet members’ visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.
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