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DPA, KYODO LIST FIVE POSSIBLE ABE SUCCESSORS

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Friday he will step down due to health issues, prompting the Tokyo political elite to tackle who his possible successor will be, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported late on August 28, 2020. Here are some of the possible successors within his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), dpa and Kyodo news agency speculated. They are, unsurprisingly, all men:

Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso – Aso, 79, is expected to succeed Abe as interim premier. The gaffe-prone Aso also serves as finance minister. If Aso, who is known as a manga buff, acts as interim prime minister, that could galvanize the opposition camp. In 2009, when Aso was prime minister, sinking popularity for his Cabinet helped the main opposition Democratic Party oust his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The victory ended more than a half century of almost unbroken rule by the LDP; Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga – Since Abe was inaugurated in December 2012, Suga has been the country’s government spokesperson, officially known as the chief cabinet secretary. Only Aso and Suga, 71, have retained their respective position since the start of Abe’s Cabinet;


Defense Minister Taro Kono – Kono, 57, had served as foreign minister for a little more than one year, before taking the current post. Unlike many Japanese politicians, Kono, a graduate of the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University in the United States, is an outspoken lawmaker who has opposed nuclear power generation. Kono’s father Yohei Kono was a long-time speaker of the House of Representatives;


Former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba – Japanese media have long named Ishiba, 63, as a possible successor to Abe. Ishiba, a railroad enthusiast, took the party’s leading posts such as secretary general and chairman of the party’s policy research council, and; Former foreign minister Fumio Kishida – Kishida served as foreign minister more than four and a half years and he leads one of the LDP’s biggest factions. The 63-year-old chairs the party’s policy research council. He remains a surprisingly obscure figure.


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