Japan’s New Prime Minister Isn’t the Transformative Leader It Needs

Suga Yoshihide stands after being elected as Japan’s new prime minister, in the lower house of parliament, Tokyo, Sept. 16, 2020 (AP photo by Koji Sasahara).
Suga Yoshihide stands after being elected as Japan’s new prime minister, in the lower house of parliament, Tokyo, Sept. 16, 2020 (AP photo by Koji Sasahara).

After Abe Shinzo’s abrupt announcement last month that he was stepping down as prime minister of Japan due to health issues, three senior members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party announced they would compete in an intraparty election to replace him. They held press conferences and campaign events. Media outlets organized televised debates. Opinion polls gauged each candidate’s popularity. It had all the trappings of a normal election. Yet for anyone paying attention, the result was a foregone conclusion. Suga Yoshihide, Abe’s longtime right-hand man, had a virtual lock on the votes needed to win. Even before Suga officially declared […]

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