Shinzo Abe, in an astounding announcement in late August, declared that he would be stepping down from his position as Prime Minister of Japan, citing ulcerative colitis as the cause of his resignation. As the longest-serving Prime Minister Abe played a crucial role in Japanese development over the last decade.
This announcement came at a time when Japan was grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and distress in the financial sector. Furthermore, with no clear successor in place, there was heightened confusion among Japanese political parties. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has presented himself as a forerunner to succeed Abe throughout the month of September.
Suga, unlike many Japanese politicians, doesn’t have a dynastic political background. He is the eldest son of a strawberry farmer from Akita prefecture. His views have long been aligned with those of Abe. In Abe’s first term of government in 2006, Suga was given the position of internal affairs minister. He also helped Abe reclaim leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party in 2012, which led to him being awarded the position of Chief Cabinet Secretary.
Suga has pledged to continue Abe’s vision and policies and has also promised to extend environmental economics. His first hurdle as Prime Minister will be controlling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. He will face several other challenges, including the pervasive issue of inequality in workspaces, a staggering economic recession, and hosting the Olympics next year.