Suga, Japan’s likely next PM, is self-made, powerful advisor

Yoshihide Suga was born the son of strawberry farmers

Yoshihide Suga was born the son of strawberry farmers

According to the Japan Times, the new ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader is expected to become the new PM because the party holds a comfortable majority in the lower house of parliament.

The report added that the early vote counting of local representatives on Monday indicated Suga had an overwhelming lead over the two other contenders - former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

Suga is nearly certain to succeed Abe Shinzo as prime minister following a vote in the Diet on Wednesday. He also sparked criticism a year ago over his hostile responses to a female reporter asking tough questions about Abe's policies and scandals.

Yoshihide Suga is poised to win Japan's ruling party leadership vote on Monday, virtually guaranteeing him parliamentary election as the country's next prime minister.

Yoshihide Suga was elected as the new head of Japan's ruling party on Monday.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Finance Minister Taro Aso are among those who will keep their jobs when Suga forms a cabinet on Wednesday to carry out his policies focusing on fighting the coronavirus pandemic while shoring up the economy, the sources said.

He has also effectively been the face of Abe's government, serving as its top spokesman and defending decisions in daily press conferences, including in sometimes testy exchanges with reporters.

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". This is unusual in Japan, as politicians usually come from powerful families.

As a young man, he ignored tradition when he decided not to take over his parents farm in Northern Japan.

As chief cabinet secretary for nearly 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. He has also said that he supports regional efforts against China's growing military power. "I think he has a more holistic view of politics and the government than maybe a lot of people who have occupied the post of prime minister", Harris said.

Compared to his political prowess at home, Suga has hardly traveled overseas, and his diplomatic skills are unknown, though he is largely expected to pursue Abe's priorities. He also will have to decide what to do with the Tokyo Olympics, which were pushed back to next summer due to the coronavirus. And he will have to build a relationship with whoever wins the USA presidential race. He said he wanted to solve the issue of Japanese nationals captured by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s.

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