From Defence Minister to Chief Cabinet Secretary: Who Could Succeed Japanese Prime Minister Abe?

On Friday, Shinzo Abe told a Tokyo news briefing that he was stepping down as the country’s prime minister due to health reasons.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declined to comment on his possible successors as he announced his decision to resign from his post during a press conference in Tokyo earlier in the day.

Here’s a brief insight into who may replace the 66-year-old, who will be remain prime minister until his successor is elected.

Yoshide Suga

Shortly before the news of Abe’s possible resignation was broken by Japanese media earlier on Friday, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai told a programme on TBS TV that Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is seen as the most probable candidate to succeed Abe.

“He has great capabilities. He has the ability to endure in the post”, Nikai pointed out.

Suga, 71, has served as Abe’s right-hand man since 2012 and is known for upholding particular issues, including those related to government subsidies for domestic travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fumio Kishida

The 63-year-old politician has repeatedly been touted by Abe as a potential leader, who earlier served as foreign minister and currently hold the post of LDP policy chief.

Media outlets paint the former banker as more dovish than Abe, pointing to Kishida’s botched move to conclude a controversial deal with South Korea in 2015 to end a dispute over women trafficked in brothels run by Japan’s military during the Second World…

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