Shinzo Abe, Japan’s PM and his Cabinet resigned by clearing the way for his successor to take over after parliamentary confirmation later Wednesday. He is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Japan and announced last month that he is stepping down because of health issues.
“I devoted my body and soul for the economic recovery and diplomacy to protect Japan’s national interest every single day since we returned to power,” Shinzo Abe told reporters at the prime minister’s office before heading for his Final Cabinet meeting. He added that his health is improving now and thanked people for their support and asking him for supporting his successor.
Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary, has been long seen as the right-hand man of Abe was chosen as the new head of the governing Liberal Democratic Party on Monday, virtually guaranteeing his PM election in a parliamentary vote on Wednesday. He gained the support because of the party’s majority and on expectations that he would continue on Abe’s line.
Suga said that he would pursue Abe’s unfinished policies and his top priorities will be fighting with the Covid-19 pandemic and turning around an economy battered by the pandemic. He praised Abe’s diplomacy and economic policies when asked about what he would like to accomplish as a Prime Minister.
He said that he would appoint “reform-minded, hard-working people” to the new Cabinet, which is to be launched later Wednesday. According to media reports, some key ministers include Finance Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto. As compared to Suga’s political prowess at home, he has hardly travelled overseas, and his diplomatic skills are unknown, though he is largely expected to pursue the priorities of Abe.