Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is to succeed Shinzo Abe as new Prime Minister.
As chief cabinet secretary for almost eight years, Suga has acted as the administration’s de facto second-in-command, batting away tricky questions at twice-daily press briefings, advising Abe on policy and reining in Japan’s recalcitrant bureaucracy, the Guardian reports.
Suga, 71, emerged as the clear favourite to replace Abe, who is resigning on health grounds, since securing the support of key LDP factions.
His career in politics began in 1987, when he reportedly wore out half a dozen pairs of shoes while canvassing, successfully, for a seat on the Yokohama city assembly, where he became known as the “shadow mayor”.
Suga’s status as a relative outsider could serve him well as he attempts to steer Japan out of a prolonged recession worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Tobias Harris, a Japan expert at Teneo Intelligence in Washington and the author of a new book on Abe.