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Yoshihide Suga replaces Abe, becomes Japan’s 99th prime minister

Yoshihide Suga replaces Abe, becomes Japan’s 99th prime minister
September 16
12:40 2020

The Japanese parliament, on Wednesday, confirmed Yoshihide Suga, ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader, as the country’s 99th prime minister.

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In late August, Shinzo Abe, his predecessor, announced that he was stepping down due to worsening health issues. The former PM is suffering from a recurring intestinal illness called ulcerative colitis.

Suga, who won a resounding victory in the LDP leadership race on Monday, was approved by both chambers of the parliament which is controlled by the LDP and junior coalition partner, Komeito.

The 71-year-old, who has pledged to continue his predecessor’s policies, is set to form a new cabinet later in the day and will reportedly reappoint many of the existing members.

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“I will create a cabinet that works for the people,” Suga said.

The new premier is now facing the immediate challenge of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and a battered economy.

In the second quarter, Japan’s economy – the world’s third-largest – contracted by 27.8 percent, marking the third straight quarterly contraction due both to the pandemic and a consumption tax hike last year.

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Suga vowed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 while protecting jobs and restoring the economy.

Japan has so far confirmed 75,958 coronavirus infections and 1,451 deaths.

The new PM promised to continue supporting the former premier’s “Abenomics” economic policy, which is based on fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms.

However, he is yet to propose any major new ideas to improve the economy.

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