PM Suga of Japan to resign but LDP family deadwood and factions to remain
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan is to resign later this month. He took office after the illness of former leader Shinzo Abe. However, his aloofness during the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis – similar to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike at a regional level – means that nationally he was polling very low. Therefore, after Fumio Kishida declared that he would challenge Suga in an internal Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership battle, more aloofness and no clear strategy led to the inevitable.
Suga and Koike focused heavily on the Olympics and Paralympics despite the endless declarations of many State of Emergencies. Yet, the games coincided with the worst infection rates from coronavirus since this virus entered Japan early last year. Hence, with Suga not helping ordinary people struggling economically, unlike Abe and the one-off 100,000 yen payment, his lack of empathy alienated many people.
His recent visit to the United Kingdom during the G-7 summit, to International Olympic Committee (IOC) elites enjoying exclusive hotels, came at a time when ordinary people were being told to stay home and do telework if possible. Equally, the vaccination program was too slow at the start until finally rolling the program out at a reasonable pace. However, many squandered months were wasted that led to more deaths and State of Emergencies – along with various quasi measures.
Recent polls showed an approval rating between 34 and 26 percent. Also, the recent election in Yokohama went against his preferred candidate. All this, and the Afghanistan debacle of only one Japanese person being evacuated by Japan, sums up an individual who seems incapable of responding to events quickly. Instead, with a dead-pan reaction, he (just like Koike) refused to answer important questions.
Suga’s announcement of resignation highlights his leadership style. He said, “A huge amount of energy is needed when considering COVID measures and the election campaign…It is difficult to manage both.”
The BBC reports, “The ruling LDP is due to hold an election on Sept 29 to pick its president. The winner of the leadership election is widely expected to be Japan’s leader as the LDP holds a parliamentary majority.”
Suga’s “Go-To Travel” campaign to the Olympics all helped to boost the spread of the coronavirus, similar to the failings of many international leaders, irrespective of literally or based on changed perceptions. After all, both events appeared to highlight a sense of normalcy.
Suga might have made a good economic leader. However, his tenure came during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Hence, lacking little empathy – and the fiasco of not preparing an adequate health care system for the worst-case scenario (similar to Koike at a local Tokyo level) – this highlighted is over-reliance on the vaccination program. Equally, he focused on economics solely from the angle of big business and not ordinary workers.
It is hoped that people will vote in the next election concerning the policies of the LDP and not on the hearsay of the next leader of the LDP. At the end of the day, the same names are embedded within this political party that refuses to modernize and let go of political family silver spoons (Taro Aso, Shinjiro Koizumi, and many others). Therefore, the same family elites and LDP political factions are dictating the power mechanisms of Japan.
Japan needs genuine opposition parties and a new LDP to emerge to galvanize the country instead of “family deadwood and relying on political factions.”
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