Yoshihide Suga appointed Japanese Prime Minister, succeeding Shinzo Abe

Clay Curtis
September 16, 2020

Yoshihide Suga - now the chief cabinet secretary, who is widely considered to be a close confidant to the PM - was selected on Monday to replace Abe as leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and is all but ensured to secure confirmation on Wednesday, given the party's parliamentary majority.

"According to the results, our house has chose to name Yoshihide Suga prime minister", lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima told parliament after the votes were counted.

He bowed deeply as politicians applauded following the announcement, but made no immediate comment.

Lee recalled his closed-door meeting with then-chief cabinet secretary Suga during a visit to Tokyo last October, saying the two agreed to work to improve bilateral ties.

Abe, Japan's longest-serving premier, resigned because of ill health after almost eight years in office.

The U.S. government said Tuesday it is paying attention to Japan's process of selecting a successor to outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and that it is eager to continue to cooperate on various regional and global issues.

(R) denotes cabinet members who retained their current posts.

He has said 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.

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"I extend my congratulations to Prime Minister Suga and the Japanese people", he added.

The new prime minister will inherit a range of challenges, including relations with China, which continues its assertive actions in the contested East China Sea, and what to do with the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed to next summer due to the coronavirus.

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

He will also take over a sweeping review of Japan's national security policy that was initiated by Abe after plans to introduce a US -developed missile defense system were scrapped due to technical issues.

Finance Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, the son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, were retained.

There too, experts say, he is likely to tread the path charted by Abe, prioritising the key relationship with the United States, whoever is president after November's election.

Abe will stay on as a lawmaker and has pledged to support Suga, with some mooting the possibility he could undertake diplomatic missions.

"I owe everything to the Japanese people".

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