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Yoshihide Suga elected Japan PM by lower house amid virus, economic woes

16 September 2020 11:12
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Yoshihide Suga elected Japan PM by lower house amid virus, economic woes

TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Yoshihide Suga, the new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, was elected Japan's prime minister by the powerful House of Representatives on Wednesday, with his immediate focus to be reviving the battered economy while keeping the novel coronavirus under control, Kyodo reports.

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Suga has pledged to push forward with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policies such as «Abenomics,» a mix of measures aimed at beating deflation and spurring growth in the world's third-largest economy, and will form a Cabinet later in the day expected to be filled with familiar faces who served in the previous administration.

The 71-year-old farmer's son, who unlike Abe and many other lawmakers in Japan is not the scion of a political dynasty, has hinted at the possibility of additional steps to shore up the economy.

This would come on top of a 230 trillion yen ($2.2 trillion) package the government has already set out for tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, including subsidies for beleaguered businesses and promotion of domestic tourism.

He will also take over a sweeping review of Japan's national security policy that was initiated by Abe after plans to introduce a U.S.-developed missile defense system were scrapped due to technical issues.

Health minister Katsunobu Kato has been tapped to succeed Suga as chief Cabinet secretary, a key post whose holder serves as both policy coordinator and the government's top spokesman. Many other Cabinet members such as Finance Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi are expected to be retained.

Defense Minister Taro Kono is slated to be named minister in charge of administrative reform, an area Suga has promised to focus on to reduce bureaucratic sectionalism.

Abe's Cabinet resigned en masse Wednesday morning, drawing an end to the premier's record-long tenure of nearly eight years. He announced in late August that he needs treatment for a chronic bowel disease.

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