Yoshihid Suga: The son of a farmer who may be the next Prime Minister of Japan

Yoshihid Suga: The son of a farmer who may be the next Prime Minister of Japan
Yoshihid Suga is viewed by many political analysts Prime Minister Abe, who announced as the next runner to replace him Last month He resigned due to complications related to colitis, a non-treatable inflammatory bowel disease, which he was able to manage for most of his tenure.

The ruling Lib Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will vote on Monday to choose their revenge. Japan is not a presidential system – the country’s leader is chosen by parliamentarians, so the next LDP leader, whoever he is, should have an easy way to become prime minister.

Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba are also running. If Suga is chosen, it will mark the peak of an unreliable and unlikely political career for the 71-year-old.

Suga and Abe’s careers have been tied for almost a decade since they became prime minister in 2012. Abe has become the country’s longest-serving leader since the end of World War II.

Suga was the right-hand man all the time, serving as the Cabinet Secretary to the Prime Minister, a combination of the Chief of Staff and the Press Secretary.

But the two could not be more different than stylistic. Abe is a charismatic descendant of one of Japan’s most famous political dynasties, an important asset in the party’s political system that values ​​genealogy. His father was foreign minister, and he is related to two former prime ministers.

Suga is the farmer’s son, and he is known as a practical, behind-the-scenes bargain maker. He grew up in rural Akita prefecture, and moved to Tokyo after high school. He then worked a series of odd jobs – one at a cardboard factory and the other at the legendary Tsusiji Fish Market – to save money for the university, in which he went to attend part-time while working.

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Suga quickly graduated, punishing the world of Japanese salary men after graduation, but it did not survive. Politics was what shaped and influenced the world, and he wanted to do it.

So he decided to run for city council in Yokohama. Although he lacked connections and political experience, he worked hard for it. He is a member of the LDP. According to, about 300 houses were visited every day and a total of 30,000 houses were visited. He was wearing six pairs of shoes by the time the election went round.

Suga’s rap has changed a bit since that campaign. Today he is known as a successful political operator who can be trusted to do things – the qualities that made him an excellent right-handed man in Abe.

He was a key ally in the prime minister’s efforts to introduce a series of economic policies known as “ebenomics” – fiscal stimulus, increased government spending, and structural reforms aimed at boosting Japan’s stable economy.

Suga is expected to become “something out of the Abe substitute” if elected prime minister, said Kazuto Suzuki, vice dean of Hokkaido University and professor of international politics.

Suzuki said potential LBDP members were trying to boost Abe’s popularity soon after he announced his resignation; Abe’s approval rating was already moving south. In a poll conducted by Manichi, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, before the announcement of Abe’s resignation, 58.4% of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the control of his epidemic. And its approval rating dropped to 36%, the lowest since 2012.

Brad Glosserman, an expert on Japanese politics, said Suga has not yet shown that “it is a real departure from the Abe Line in any way or from outside the mainstream of the LDP in general.”

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“He’s got a very good story … he’s a very self-made man. However, the question is whether he has the degree by which he can get personality,” said Glosserman, author of Peak Japan. The end of great ambitions. ”

It can prove to be a difficult task. Abe has come down amid widespread dissatisfaction with Abe’s handling Nationwide epidemic of corona virus And the upcoming economic crisis, which has opened up to its political opponents.

Major issues such as major government debt and aging populations are big and despite Abe’s public demand for reform for gender equality in the workplace, critics say he has not addressed issues that address the country’s gender gap or prevent large participation of women. In economics and politics.

If elected, Suga may soon be forced to sell herself to the public. The government must hold another general election by October 2021, but Defense Minister Taro Kono Said Wednesday That quick elections could be called early next month.

As chief cabinet secretary, Suga was widely seen as a successful spokesman because he was able to communicate the message or his boss without shadow. But the same skills can prove problematic in a top job, with rhetoric and charisma being important characteristics for getting the message across to people.

“No one really knows who this man is. He’s a behind-the-scenes laborer,” Glosserman said of Suga. “He has not yet developed and presented an image to the Japanese public that he will rally behind and support.”

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the age of Yoshihid Suga. He is 71 years old.

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