How Yoshihide Suga defied the odds to become Shinzo Abe's heir apparent

How Yoshihide Suga defied the odds to become Shinzo Abe's heir apparent

Suga, who was picked to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Monday, is set to be named premier in an extraordinary Diet session on Wednesday.

Now the chief cabinet secretary, Suga took 377 of a total of 534 votes against the two other contenders, former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

The LDP's presidential election, triggered by Abe's sudden announcement in late August that he would resign for health reasons, was criticized for not having any female candidates despite the government's supposed push to create a "society in which women can shine".

In an interview Suga gave to the Japan Times last Saturday, he said he hoped to amend the Constitution of Japan that has not been amended since it took effect in 1947 and was one of Abe's long-held goals. He served as the government's spokesman and chief cabinet secretary.

His career in politics began in 1987, when he reportedly wore out half a dozen pairs of shoes while canvassing, successfully, for a seat on the Yokohama city assembly, where he became known as the "shadow mayor". Suga is widely expected to continue with Abe's economic policies.

He has said that his top priorities will be fighting the coronavirus and turning around a Japanese economy battered by the pandemic.

© Thomson Reuters Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga gestures during his regular news conference at the Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, September 14, 2020.

PM Johnson says bill will stop European Union using "stick" against UK
But Mr Johnson's spokesman said the Bill would "create a legal safety net" that would "protect the integrity of the UK's internal market".

© Provided by The Guardian Merchandise featuring Japan's expected new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is displayed at a store in his home town of Yuzawa.

But since announcing his candidacy at the end of August, he has undergone a modest image change, from inscrutable political enforcer whose most memorable public act to date was announcing the name of the new Reiwa era previous year, to the closest Japan's dominant conservative party has to the man on the Tokyo omnibus. Some bureaucrats who have opposed his policies have reportedly been removed from projects or transferred elsewhere.

Suga has said he wants to maintain communication and develop strategic ties with China and South Korea despite rocky relations with them.

According to a report in The Mainichi, Suga was relatively unknown until April 2019, when he unveiled the name of the new imperial era that earned him the nickname "Uncle Reiwa".

He also will have to decide what to do with the Tokyo Olympics.

A man of self-discipline, his daily routine includes sit-ups and walking - in his business suits in the neighborhood of the parliament so he can immediately head to work in an emergency.

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