Japan likely to get new PM as Suga bows out of party vote

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga won’t run in the governing party’s leadership election later this month, indicating he will step down as Japanese leader

Suga told executives of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Friday that he will not run in the leadership race set for Sept. 29, LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai told reporters.

LDP has the majority in Parliament, meaning the new government leader likely will be whoever is elected the party’s leader.

Suga took office in mid-September a year ago after his predecessor Shinzo Abe resigned due to health problems.

Suga, the son of a strawberry farmer from Japan’s northern prefecture of Akita, enjoyed support ratings as high as 70% early in his tenure because he was a leader from the common people rather than blue-blood political families like Abe.

Suga introduced a series of pragmatic measures including digital transformation and administrative reforms, but his support ratings slid quickly over his virus measures seen as too slow and too small to prevent growing outbreaks. In the latest media surveys, support ratings have declined to around 26%.

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