Japan’s Prime Minister Suga leaves the occasion election | Politics information
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has announced that he will not take part in a race to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party later this month, paving the way for his successor after just one year in office.
“Running in the race and dealing with coronavirus countermeasures would have required an enormous amount of energy,” he told reporters in Tokyo on Friday.
72-year-old Suga, who took office after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned last September, citing poor health, has seen his support rates drop below 30 percent as the nation’s worst wave ahead of the general election has been struggling with COVID-19 infections for years.
“Today at the board meeting [party] President Suga said he wanted to focus his efforts on fighting the coronavirus and would not run in the leadership elections, “LDP general secretary Toshihiro Nikai told reporters after the news of Suga’s departure was reported.
“To be honest, I’m surprised. It is really unfortunate. He did his best but after careful consideration he made that decision, ”he added.
The shock announcement comes with Suga’s approval ratings at an all-time low about his government’s handling of the pandemic response.
But it was a decision that had not been foreseen, as Suga made no suggestion of his plans to leave office after just a year in power and before running his first general election.
Daiju Aoki, chief economist for Japan at UBS SUMI Trust Wealth Management, told Reuters the announcement was a surprise.
“But it offered more security and forward-looking prospects than uncertainty,” as the country tries to fight the coronavirus, Aoki said.
Olympic Games controversy
Suga had faced fierce national criticism after deciding to host the Tokyo Olympics, despite the ongoing health emergency due to the pandemic.
In the run-up to the LDP meeting and leadership elections on September 29, many younger MPs who received public dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the health crisis expressed a loss of confidence in the leadership and indicated a challenge to the leadership.
Last month, former Home Secretary Sanae Takaichi threw her hat into the ring as a possible replacement.
When Suga became Prime Minister last year, analysts had hoped that his inside knowledge of the intricacies of the Japanese bureaucracy and his skilful political deals from his long tenure as Abe’s right-hand man would help the country’s daunting challenges.
As prime minister, Suga was weighed down by criticism of the pandemic, which also affected efforts to revitalize the country’s economy [File: Wu Hong/EPA]
However, when the country’s pandemic situation worsened, the public got angry with Suga for also resisting majority resistance to cancel the summer Olympics, which had already been postponed by a year.
Before Suga became prime minister, he was relatively reticent and was overshadowed by Abe.
He only became better known to the public when he was the one who unveiled the name of the new imperial era, Reiwa, a celebratory moment that marked the rise of the new emperor and went viral, earning him the nickname “Uncle Reiwa”.
Behind the scenes, staff and analysts say Suga has been instrumental in moving decision-making elements from Japan’s sprawling bureaucracy to Prime Minister’s office and taming factional rivalries within the LDP.
However, as prime minister, he was weighed down by criticism of the pandemic, which also affected efforts to revive the country’s economy.
The son of a strawberry farmer and a school teacher, Suga grew up in rural Akita in northern Japan and attended college in a factory after moving to Tokyo.
He was elected to his first office as a councilor in Yokohama near Tokyo in 1987 and entered parliament in 1996.