Yoshihide Suga, the new leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), is set to take office as the couñtry’s prime minister on Wednesday following the resignation of Shinzo Abe over ill-health, and amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Suga, who won a resounding victory in the LDP leadership race on Monday, is expected to be nominated to succeed outgoing premier, Abe at an extraordinary parliamentary session on Wednesday, as the LDP and junior coalition partner Komeito control the powerful lower house.
Suga, who has pledged to continue Abe’s policies, will then form a cabinet by reappointing many members such as Finance Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, local media reported.
“I will create a cabinet that works for people,” the 71-year-old said.
Suga, who had served as chief cabinet secretary since Abe took office in late 2012, said Japan was facing an “unprecedented national crisis,” referring to the pandemic.
He vowed to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus while protecting jobs and restoring the economy, which has been battered by the pandemic.
The economy shrank a record annualized 28.1 per cent in the April-to-June period, marking the third straight quarterly contraction.
In late August, Abe announced that he was stepping down after he was diagnosed with a recurrence of an intestinal illness called ulcerative colitis.
In July 2007, the disease forced Abe to abruptly quit as prime minister only one year into the job.
He returned to power in 2012.