This Monday, September 14th, Yoshihide Suga won the race for the Liberal Democratic Party leader, which in effect was the election for the next Prime Minister of Japan. The results came as no surprise considering his backing from the majority of the party, but who exactly is the man taking up the prime minister’s role?
Suga himself comes from a small town in Akita prefecture, where his father worked as a strawberry farmer and his mother as a schoolteacher. As a young boy, instead of inheriting his family farm, he headed to Tokyo, where he went to university.
After graduating, he worked as a secretary for a Diet member for over 10 years before running a successful campaign for the Yokohama City Assembly in 1987. In 1996, he received a chance to run for the Liberal Democratic Party and was elected into the House of Representatives. Suga was chosen as Abe Shinzo`s cabinet member back during his first tenure back in 2006.
He is known for his extreme work ethic. Suga is said to wake up every day at 5 a.m. to watch the latest news, go for a 40-minute walk, do 100 sit-ups, eat breakfast, and be in the office by 9 a.m. While at work, daily press conferences and dozens of meetings were the norms for the Prime Minister’s right-hand man. He is also a fan of pancakes and is said to treat his coworkers several times a month.
Even with a new prime minister, the majority of Abe Shinzo’s cabinet is expected to remain for Suga’s tenure. Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare Katsunobu Kato was selected to take over Suga`s role as the new chief cabinet secretary. The former Defense Minister Taro Kono will also stay on but has been changed to the Minister for administrative reform. Abe Shinzo`s younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, has been selected to become the new Minister of Defense.
Suga said he is going to focus on the tasks of decreasing corona infections, combating the decreasing birth rate, and revitalizing the economy.