Longtime Abe government spokesman Yoshihide Suga set to become Japan's next prime minister
The chief Cabinet secretary to outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won a decisive party election Monday.
Yoshihide Suga, the longtime chief Cabinet secretary to outgoing Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is set to become the country's next leader, after winning the vote Monday from the country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Now that the party has chosen its new leader, the Japanese parliament will hold a vote Wednesday in which Suga is expected to made prime minister because of the LDP's majority.
Abe last month abruptly announced his resignation, citing chronic health issues. Suga is expected to stay as prime minister until the September 2021 elections.
Unlike Abe, who is a member of a Japanese political dynasty, Suga hails from rural northern Japan, where his father worked as a strawberry farmer and his mother as a schoolteacher.
Suga referenced his humble upbringing during his acceptance speech to the conservative Liberal Democratic Party.
“With this background, I was able to become the leader of the Liberal Democratic party, with all its history and tradition. I will devote the whole of myself to Japan and the Japanese people," he said.
The LDP controls parliament's upper and lower chambers.
The 71-year-old Suga has for the past eight years served as the the Abe administration's top spokesperson. His election is viewed as a consistent and stable transition of power.
Abe told parliament that he was "handing the baton" to Suga, and that "we can count on him."
Stepping into the position, Suga will immediately be faced with the challenge of keeping Japan's low coronavirus numbers in check, while working to stimulate the country's economy, which has been in a recession in recent years, a situation exacerbated by the global pandemic.
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