Japanese parliament on Wednesday elected Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as the country’s new Prime Minister, two days after becoming the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Suga, 71, was elected as Prime Minister at an extraordinary session of the Diet on Wednesday. He was elevated to the top executive post with a comfortable majority of votes in both chambers.
Suga, who was born as the son of a farmer and earned his living as a factory worker, becomes the 63rd Prime Minister of the world’s major economy, replacing Shinzo Abe.
After ruling the country for nearly nine years, Abe announced his resignation last month citing the recurrence of a health issue.
Abe is stepping out as Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister after successfully implementing his aggressive economic experiment known as “Abenomics.”
A close ally of Abe, the new leader pledged to carry on his predecessor’s policies and reforms.
Speaking after confirmation, Suga said his top priority issue is response to coronavirus pandemic. He admitted that reviving the economy, which suffered the biggest economic slump due to the coronavirus pandemic, is an important challenge.
Announcing that Japan-U.S. alliance is to remain the foundation of the government’s foreign policy, Suga voiced determination to resolve North Korea abduction issue. Further efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions, according to him.
Suga promised to revive regional economies.
Suga reshuffled the Abe Cabinet while retaining ministers in key posts – Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Finance Minister Aso Taro and economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.
Health Minister Motonobu Kato replaces Suga as Chief Cabinet Secretary.
Defense Minister Taro Kono was moved to the ministry of administrative reform. Suga vowed to focus on reducing bureaucratic sectionalism and push deregulation.
Suga and his new cabinet was formally inaugurated in a ceremonial endorsement by Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
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