Yoshide Suga to be Japan’s next prime minister


In 1996, Mr. Suga made the leap to national politics by winning a seat in the lower house of parliament. During Mr. Abe’s first and difficult stint as Prime Minister, from 2006 to 2007, Mr. Suga served as Minister of Home Affairs and Telecommunications. Even after Mr Abe stepped down following a series of scandals, Mr Suga remained loyal.

Mr Abe rewarded this loyalty when he returned as Prime Minister in 2012 and chose Mr Suga as his chief secretary to his cabinet. According to Kenya Matsuda, author of “Shadow Power: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga,” Suga urged Abe to focus on the economy rather than the nationalist agenda that had exhausted his first term.

Last year, Mr. Suga took a few steps to come out of the shadows. When the government officially unveiled the name of the new era marking the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, it was Mr. Suga who dramatically revealed a calligraphic rendering of the name, Reiwa, earning him the nickname “Uncle Reiwa” .

Mr Suga also pioneered his original idea, a system that allows citizens to give money to local governments in exchange for local gifts. However, many small town governments lost money spending more on gifts like marbled Wagyu beef or fresh lobster shipments than they collected in donations.

In the area of ​​foreign policy, Mr. Suga has tried to fill the gaps in his portfolio. He visited Washington last year, the first chief secretary to take such a trip in three decades.

For Mr. Abe, personal diplomacy with President Trump has been crucial. If Mr. Trump wins re-election, the question, Ms. Solis of the Brookings Institution said, “is whether Suga can do magic, or if it was a bromance between Trump and Abe not to be repeated.


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