Who Is Japan’s New Prime Minister?

Yoshihide Suga assumed the Office of the Prime Minister in Japan on September 14, 2020. He took over from Shinzo Abe, who stepped down to the surprise of much of the world.

Suga served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary from 2012 to 2020. He was also the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2006-2007.

Suga’s story is unique. His family were strawberries farmers in the Akita Prefecture. He moved to Tokyo after high school, enrolling in Hosei University to study the law. He became a political aide before running a successful campaign to join the Yokohama Municipal Assembly in 1987.

Suga says that he’ll continue many of the policies started under Abe, who served four terms as Japan’s PM.

Why Did Shinzo Abe Resign as Prime Minister?

Abe announced that he was resigning as Japan’s prime minister because of ongoing health issues. There was still a year left in his current tenure. He apologized during his announcement for being unable to fulfill his job during the pandemic.

Shinzo Abe has colitis, which is an incurable inflammatory bowel disease. It was the reason for his resignation in 2007, when he ended his first term after about a year in office.

Although Abe received criticism for trying to rewrite Japan’s wartime history and party corruption, he also had ambitious economic ideas that could transform the country’s economy. Suga says that he will continue this work, but the markets were unsure of the message. The local markets closed about 1.4% lower.

One of Suga’s immediate challenges is to get the Tokyo Olympics on track for a 2021 competition.

COVID-19 is the other challenge that Japan faces today. With an aging population and an initial lackluster response, the country is further behind others in controlling outbreaks.

Abe may decide to make another comeback one day. As for right now, Yoshihide Suga is leading the charge toward what everyone hopes to be a brighter future for Japan.