TOKYO (AP) – Yoshihide Suga was elected as the new head of Japan’s ruling party on Monday, all but assuring that he will become the country’s new prime minister when a parliamentary election is held later in the week.
Despite his low-key image, Suga, 71, has been a key figure in outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, serving as the government’s top spokesperson in his role as chief Cabinet secretary.
Suga’s victory in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party vote virtually guarantees his election in a parliamentary vote Wednesday because of the majority held by the LDP’s ruling coalition.
Suga, the son of a strawberry grower in northern Japan’s Akita prefecture, said he had come a long way. “I will devote all of myself to work for the nation and the people,” he said in his victory speech.
He has said that his top priorities will be fighting the coronavirus and turning around a Japanese economy battered by the pandemic.