Japan and important factions supporting Suga’s bid for leadership
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The sudden resignation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe because of ill-health means a leadership battle inside the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Hence, the ill-timing of Abe’s resignation equates to many lawmakers desiring continuity because of the economic convulsions related to the coronavirus crisis.
Equally, with the presidential election looming in America, the need for a seasoned politician appears appropriate. After all, tensions between America and China means that continuity appears the best option rather than a maverick leader.
Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, fits the bill for continuity according to two leading factions. Hence, the mantle and policies of Abe will continue during this difficult period. Of course, whoever is selected is bound to want to stamp new ideas. However, in the short-term, Suga will not rock the boat.
Thus the important political heavyweights of Taro Aso (Finance Minister) and Toshihiro Nikai (Secretary-General) have reassured Suga of their respective support. These two important factions seek continuity under Suga.
While Suga is formally to put his hat into the leadership ring, it appears only a matter of time. Fumio Kishida and Shigeru Ishiba are known to covet being the next leader of Japan. However, for Shigeru, much depends on how the vote his held. After all, he is more popular among the rank and file of LDP members – rather than politicians.
At the moment, it appears that a vote of all party members might not be forthcoming. This is based on the coronavirus crisis and the urgency of the situation.
If so, Ishiba – who is popular – will suffer. Therefore, the final decision of electoral procedures is very important to the outcome of the leadership election.
Voice of America reports, “An opinion poll of the general public taken by Kyodo News shows 34% of those asked want Ishiba to become the next prime minister, with Suga a distant second at 14%. Ishiba unsuccessfully challenged Abe for LDP president in the last intraparty race in 2018.”
Overall, it appears that Suga is the frontrunner (especially if all party members throughout the country don’t vote). However, in politics, even a day can be too long!
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