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Japan's governing party picks Yoshihide Suga as next prime minister

The Hill logo The Hill 9/16/2020 John Bowden
Yoshihide Suga wearing a suit and tie: Japan's governing party picks Yoshihide Suga as next prime minister © Getty Images Japan's governing party picks Yoshihide Suga as next prime minister

Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday was chosen as Japan's next prime minister during a meeting of the country's conservative Liberal Democratic Party.

Suga, who served as a Cabinet secretary under the country's previous prime minister, Shinzo Abe, won 377 of the 534 votes cast by party members to assume Japan's highest office, according to the BBC, and defeated former foreign minister Fumio Kishida and former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba, who also previously led the party.

Japanese election analysts said that Suga's selection indicated a desire by party leaders to continue with the policy of Abe's administration.

"Shinzo Abe and the other party bosses picked and joined the bandwagon for Mr. Suga precisely because he was the best 'continuity' candidate, someone who they think could continue Abe government without Abe," Koichi Nakano of Sophia University told the BBC.

Suga has proposed raising Japan's minimum wage and expanding efforts to test citizens for COVID-19 once elected, according to the network.

His predecessor announced his retirement in late August, citing health concerns due to complications surrounding ulcerative colitis.

"My poor health should not lead to wrong political decisions," Abe said at the time. "As I'm no longer able to meet the expectation of the mandate of the people of Japan, I have decided that I should not stay in the position as prime minister anymore. So I have decided to step down."

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