Shinzo Abe’s chief of staff is a compromise choice, whose charisma in constituencies may be measured as early as this fall.
On Wednesday 71 years old Yoshihide Suga woke up as usual at five in the morning, did news agency Reuters one hundred stomach movements and a vegetable curry soup made by his wife for breakfast, said she had lost weight 14 pounds.
Usually the prime minister Shinzo Aben the Chief of Staff has since read the newspapers and started political maneuvers at 6.30. But this day was exceptional.
He is now allowed to choose his own Chief of Staff. For Wednesday him was elected Prime Minister of Japan and the leader of the world’s third largest economy.
Suga was not yet one of Abe’s most obvious successors since the beginning of the year. He had According to the Japan Times only less than ten percent support in the polls in part because he himself wanted to stay out of the successor game.
Nor was the issue topical, as Aben was expected to continue at least until the summer of 2021 and the Tokyo Olympics.
Repeated hospital visits forced Abe, however to tell their difference due to chronic intestinal inflammation on 28 August.
It completely changed the political situation.
Aben and Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party (Ldp) is Japan’s traditional, conservative regent party.
There are many concentrations of power on the side whose leaders are second- or third-generation Ldp decision-makers. Abe’s father was the Japanese foreign minister and his grandfather the Japanese prime minister.
Suga is not part of the party’s concentration of power. He is the son of a strawberry grower from northern Japan who rose to become Abe’s chief of staff with his diligence and loyalty.
In his office, he held an average of two briefings every weekday, read them out on paper, and usually did not answer questions from journalists.
He got the nickname “Teppeki” from the pained journalists, meaning “Iron Wall”. The qualities of the folly could not be seen from him.
Gray eminence was not taken into account more widely until he was given the honor of announcing the emperor Naruhiton the rise to power of this father Akihiton the abandonment of power and the change of the Heisei era in honor of the new emperor to the Reiwa era, which means roughly “beautiful harmony”.
That moment grabbed the consciousness of the people. Suga was called “Uncle Reiwa”. He also humanized his image appropriately by recalling his anti-muscle movements, diet, and undeniable diligence, which work-crazy Japan knows how to value.
Liberal Democrat the party, in its typical way, decided that it was pointless for the whole membership to ask the opinion of the next chairman of the ldp and thus also of the next prime minister of japan. Only LDP MPs and 141 party representatives from across the country were allowed to vote, news agency Kyodo.
It meant cabinet negotiations in which Suga is the master. A popular favorite in the negotiations and an Abe critic who was dropped from the current government Shigeru Ishiba did not get a majority, nor was another pre-favorite, i.e., more moderately argumentative Fumio Kishida.
It opened the way for Suga to power.
Suga has been a diligent problem solver in the party’s internal twists and masters of creative power between centers of power. Next, however, he must also demonstrate his ability to win parliamentary elections. Otherwise, the reign will be very short.
Abe’s resignation due to illness brought sympathy and raised the party’s support from the low of the summer. It would be no wonder if Suga postponed next year’s election as early as this fall. The Japan Times estimates the election could be already in October.
In this way, Suga could quickly strengthen his power before the two main opposition parties have just merged gain momentum for their new leader Yukio Edanon under.
Opposition was last in power in 2009–2012. It was then that the aftermath of the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear accident brought the Ldp back to power and Abe eventually became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
With current support figures, a slightly more reformist opposition than the ruling party cannot win. But if the anxiety brought about by the pandemic continues and increases during Suga’s season, the situation could change.
Abe was an adviser to the LDPE Nippon Kaigi (“Japan Conference”), an extremist, conservative, and alienating organization for gender equality. She was also a pragmatist who pushed women more and more into working life as the dependency ratio in aging Japan deteriorated.
The hawkness was seen as an irritation to Japan’s pacifist constitution, which Abe was trying to reform in order to be able to take full-fledged military action in U.S.-led alliances.
The hawkness was visible Foreign Policy magazine according to a recent analysis, also in the cooling of the gaps in South Korea, because Abe, like his predecessors, did not apologize for the atrocities committed by Japan during its imperialist years.
Like Abe, Suga is a Nippon Kaigi association and a right-wing conservative. He still doesn’t believe there is such a strong need for a white wash in Japanese history.
If Suga has significant economic policy ideas of his own, he has kept them hidden except for popular fishing, which he has done by opposing certain tolls and advocating cheaper mobile phone tariffs.
He intends to continue the “abenomy” of his predecessor in economic policy. It means the Ldp’s traditionally generous line of public investment, zero interest rates and ample borrowing. Abenomy’s goals also included structural reforms, but the Ldp is not distinctively a reformist party.
On the other hand, the Japanese everyday life is quite good and safe – in many respects better than the everyday lives of the people of the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China.
Gross domestic product per capita Japan is roughly at the level of France and Britain, while China is only at the level of Botswana and Mexico due to its poor countryside.
Japan’s ability to provide its citizens with a secure and high standard of living from decade to decade has at times been overshadowed by China’s very low-growth figures.
However, the matter was remembered again at the turn of the month when the investor gap Warren Buffet noticed the undervaluation of large Japanese companies and reported billions of euros investments to five large Japanese companies.
It immediately raised stock prices and is a nice gift for the new prime minister tomorrow as well.
If the pandemic will be overcome without major further devastation, Suga can count on voters to see Japan in its current state much worth preserving.
And Suga if who is the custodian.