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Suga Succeeds Abe As Japan's Prime Minister

yoshihidesugashinzoabe sept16 lt

Japanese parliament on Wednesday elected Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as the country's new Prime Minister, two days after he became the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Suga, 71, was elected as Prime Minister at an extraordinary session of the Diet on Wednesday. He was elevated to the top executive post with a comfortable majority of votes in both chambers.

Suga, who was born as the son of a farmer and earned his living as a factory worker, becomes the 63rd Prime Minister of the world's major economy, replacing Shinzo Abe.

After ruling the country for nearly nine years, Abe announced his resignation last month, citing the recurrence of a health issue.

Abe is stepping down as Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister after successfully implementing his aggressive economic experiment known as "Abenomics."

A close ally of Abe, the new leader pledged to carry on his predecessor's policies and reforms.

Speaking after his confirmation, Suga said his top priority issue is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. He admitted that reviving the economy, which suffered a major economic slump due to the pandemic, is an important challenge.

Announcing the Japan-U.S. alliance is to remain the foundation of the government's foreign policy, Suga also voiced determination to resolve the North Korea abduction issue. Further efforts are also needed to reduce carbon emissions, according to him.

Suga reshuffled the Abe Cabinet while retaining ministers in key posts - Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Finance Minister Aso Taro and economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Health Minister Motonobu Kato replaces Suga as Chief Cabinet Secretary.

Defense Minister Taro Kono was moved to the ministry of administrative reform. Suga vowed to focus on reducing bureaucratic sectionalism and push deregulation.

Suga and his new cabinet was formally inaugurated in a ceremonial endorsement by Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

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