SUGA OFFICIALLY SEEKS TO SUCCEED ABE
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday evening (September 2, 2020) announced his candidacy to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), vowing to push forward with the Japanese premier's signature economic policies.
The 71-year-old Suga, who has been Abe's right-hand man for nearly eight years, is on course to secure about 70 percent of the votes of party lawmakers, making him the clear front-runner, Kyodo news agency said.
The race for the party's top post will officially kick off on Sept. 8 and a new leader will be elected at a joint plenary meeting of LDP party members from both houses of parliament to be held on Sept. 14.
The LDP and the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan agreed to convene an extraordinary Diet session and choose a new prime minister on Sept. 16. The new LDP president is all but certain to become Japan's prime minister as the party controls the lower house. The winner will serve the remainder of Abe's term as party leader through September 2021. At a press conference early Wednesday evening, Suga said Japan was facing a "national crisis like never before" due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and that he would do whatever is necessary to prevent infections from spreading while also putting the economy on a recovery track.