48 hours after the triumphant victory in the PLD leadership, Suga was elected prime minister with 314 votes out of 462 declared valid in the lower house of the Japanese Parliament. The vote in the Upper House confirmed the result in the Lower House.
Suga has so far been secretary general and spokesman for the Abe government. He faithfully served the former Conservative leader, coordinating political affairs between ministries and numerous state agencies. However, he does not have the international stature of Abe, who is Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
At the age of 65, Shinzo Abe withdrew prematurely from the political scene due to health problems.
Yoshihide Suga said he would continue his predecessor’s “Abenomics” strategy, which provides for a relaxed monetary policy, government spending and reforms, and would follow a diplomatic line focused on the security alliance with the United States.
As prime minister, Suga will face immediate internal challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic hardship, but also long-term challenges such as an aging population and low birth rates.
Externally, it will mainly have to find a balance between counteracting China’s maritime aggression and economic interdependence between Tokyo and Beijing.