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Sep 3 · Last update 13 days ago.

Who will be Japan's next leader?

(Picture - The waiting room adjacent to the Cabinet Room at the National Diet Building) Following a relapse of the ulcerative colitis condition that cut his first prime ministership short in 2007, Shinzo Abe’s surprise resignation on 28 August 2020 set off a race for the leadership of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The LDP leadership race is now underway, and Abe has declined to back a candidate as his successor, and as the LDP controls the majority of the National Diet the winner will serve the rest of Abe’s term as prime minister in September 2021. Who will be the leader of LDP party and the resultant next leader of Japan?
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Suga Yoshihide
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Shigeru Ishiba
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Fumio Kishida
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Suga Yoshihide

Chief Cabinet Secretary, Suga Yoshihide, is widely been seen as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's right-hand man and has long been in the public eye as top government spokesperson. Suga has a reputation as a skilled backroom operator but a less-than-charismatic public figure; nevertheless he represents continuity and has vowed to continue Abe's coronavirus and economic policies. This seems a powerful message in the LDP party, the Japanese media have already reported that the largest faction of party power brokers have backed Suga, choosing continuity and stability over popularity. To most then he is the favourite to win the race for LDP party president and becomes Japan's next prime minister.

On 14th September 2020 it was announced that Suga Yoshihide won the LDP leadership race, making him certain to become Japan's next prime minister. He now faces a challenging year with the looming question of when to hold elections being balanced against the pandemic and its economic aftermath. A snap election in a pandemic may not be the wisest choice, but he only has until October 2021 to decide, as this was when Abe's term as prime minister was set to end. Nevertheless, Suga Yoshihide will be Japanese Prime Minister starting next week.

washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/japans-mr-fixit-yoshihide-suga-set-to-succeed-shinzo-abe-as-leader/2020/09/01/28addb02-eb60-11ea-bd08-1b10132b458f_story.html financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/largest-faction-of-japans-ruling-party-backs-suga-in-leadership-race-nhk-2 www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200914_29 japantoday.com/category/politics/update-3-largest-faction-of-japan%27s-ruling-party-backs-suga-to-replace-abe-as-pm-nhk

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Sep 14
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Chief Cabinet Secretary, Suga Yoshihide, is widely been seen as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's right-hand man and has long been in the public eye as top government spokesperson. Suga has a reputation as a skilled backroom operator but a less-than-charismatic public figure; nevertheless he represents continuity and has vowed to continue Abe's coronavirus and economic policies. This seems a powerful message in the LDP party, the Japanese media have already reported that the largest faction of party power brokers have backed Suga, choosing continuity and stability over popularity. To most then he is the favourite to win the race for LDP party president and becomes Japan's next prime minister.

Shigeru Ishiba

Abe’s arch-rival, Shigeru Ishiba, is an ex-defence minister that has run against Abe in 2012, and more recently functioned as a minister overseeing regional economic revitalisation and policies aimed at reversing population decline. Ishiba is widely seen as the people's choice; enjoying 34% of the public’s support, double Suga's 14%, according to a Kyodo News survey, and 28% according to a Nikkei/TV Tokyo poll, which put Suga at 11% and Kishida last. Ishiba has promised to help revitalising failing rural areas, and lessen the economic burden on Tokyo while focussing on rebuilding the post-pandemic Japanese economy. Despite his reputation with the public Ishiba is considered less popular within the party, however, Abe’s legacy of scandals and falling approval ratings from a failed pandemic response may make Ishiba the breath of fresh air the LDP need at this moment.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/ex-defence-minister-ishiba-is-peoples-choice-for-next-japan-pm-polls/articleshow/77844268.cms thebruneian.news/ex-defence-minister-ishiba-is-peoples-choice-for-next-japan-pm-polls thediplomat.com/2020/09/japans-departing-pm-abe-shinzo-spurs-political-chaos-and-mixed-reactions-on-political-legacy nytimes.com/reuters/2020/08/30/world/asia/30reuters-japan-politics-abe.html

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Fumio Kishida

Fumio Kishida, chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council and former Foreign Affairs Minister, was first to throw his hat in the race and announce his intention to run as president of the LDP and therefore Prime Minister of Japan. Somewhat of a moderate candidate, but still part of the far-right nationalist Nippon Kaigi organisation, Kishida is somewhat stronger on policies Abe was often criticised for, being slightly less of a “war-hawk” and less than supportive of Abe's push to reform the country’s anti-war constitution. He has overseen important foreign relations issues like Obama’s visit to Hiroshima and the 2015 settlement with South Korea over the "comfort women" issue, and at this fraught time in international relations would be in the best position to foster good relations with other nations.

reuters.com/article/us-japan-politics-idUSKBN1AI073 abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/abes-party-maneuvers-pick-japans-pm-72743867

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