With Abe planning to step down, the search for the next prime minister is already underway. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is rumored to be a strong candidate, and officially announced his entry for the prime ministership this Wednesday.
He promises continued success with Abenomics and to maintain positive Japan-US relations. Suga has been a loyal supporter of Abe for a long time and is supported by the majority of his party, the Liberal Democratic Party. He has also become quite famous for unveiling the new era, Reiwa, and has since been referred to as “Uncle Reiwa.” While Suga is the current frontrunner, his extreme loyalty to Abe’s ideals and the older age of 71 are a concern for some.
Besides Cabinet Secretary Suga, two other candidates are also aiming for the prime minister’s position, former Secretary General Ishiba Shigeru and former Foreign Minister and current chair of the policy research council Kishida Fumio.
Kishida was considered the leading choice by the LDP for some time and was even favored by Abe Shinzo. However, his popularity has fallen recently, and upon Abe’s announcement of resignation, he failed to mention any expectations of Kishida as a successor. Kishida is currently working hard to gain traction in the race by uploading photos and making public appearances. He promises to introduce foreign and economic policies different from those of Abe Shinzo.
Ishiba, however, is the people’s choice for a successor, according to a recent opinion poll. He also stands out as a critic of Abe’s administration and aims to strengthen Asian relationships with neighbors such as South Korea. The current election for the next leader of the Liberal Democratic Party is planned to be held on the 14th of September.