Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has been appointed as the new prime minister of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Suga will launch a new Cabinet after the official appointment as the new prime minister at the provisional session of the National Diet.
Prime Minister Suga won 377 votes out of 535 possible votes in the leadership election by LDP held at a hotel in Tokyo on Monday, followed by 89 votes for Policy Affairs Research Council chief Fumio Kishida and 68 votes for former Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba.
“There should be no political vacuum in the face of the national crisis of COVID-19. My mission is to inherit policies pursued by Prime Minister Abe,” said Suga after his win was confirmed. He will serve as the new Prime Minister until September 2020 when former Prime Minister Abe’s remaining term ends. Abe resigned due to his long illness of ulcerative colitis.
Suga has served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary for seven years and nine months since Abe took office for the second ter in December 2012, mediating policies among ministries and managing crises as the second-in-command of the administration. As a spokesperson of the Japanese government, Suga has supported the stance of the Abe administration regarding issues surrounding South Korea and Japan, such as compensation for forced labor by Japan. However, some experts believe that there may be momentum in improving the South Korea-Japan relations under Suga who is thought to be a pragmatic and strategic leader.