Japan’s New Prime Minister, And What it Means For The Country
BY: Giordano Proulx
On Monday morning, the world’s third-largest economic power voted on a new prime minister to succeed Shinzo Abe. The man in question, Yoshihide Suga, is currently serving as the chief cabinet secretary of Abe’s administration. The move comes as Abe’s health worsens due to ulcerative colitis, a disease that provokes chronic inflammation and the formation of ulcers in the digestive tract.
Abe has been open about his struggles with the disease, even stepping down from his role as prime minister in 2007 due to the illness. The 65-year-old prime minister also added that he does not want his illness to affect his decision-making, especially in the midst of the current pandemic.
Conversely, the man stepping into his role, the 71-year-old Suga, claims he will continue in Abe’s footsteps and ensure that Japan’s role on the world scene remains unchanged. Yoshihide Suga was born the son of a strawberry farmer in Yuzawa and was generally described by his peers as being quiet, so much so that a former high school classmate stated, "He was someone you wouldn't notice if he was there or not."
Following high school, he went to work in a cardboard factory in Tokyo in order to save up enough money to attend university. Following his graduation, he went to work as a secretary for a lawmaker in Yokohama after which he became a member of the city assembly and was dubbed “Yokohama’s shadow mayor” due to his extensive efforts put into local policy.
Suga is also known for his strong work ethic, as he has stated he wakes up every day at 5 am after which he checks the news, does 100 sit-ups and goes for a walk before proceeding with his work.
With his new position, Suga has stated that his main priority will be tackling the pandemic which poses a great threat to Japan, the world’s most elderly population. In addition to such a mission, Suga has also pledged to raise the minimum wage, increase tourism, and produce meaningful agricultural reforms for Japan’s farmers.
The transition of leadership is coming at an inopportune time, as Japan is facing a severe economic downturn in the wake of COVID-19’s appearance in the country some 6 months ago. However, the long-time political juggernaut and deputy to Abe should have little trouble solving the issues facing the country today.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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