Japan already has a new prime minister, but no major policy changes are expected.
With 314 of the 465 votes in the Lower House and 142 of the 245 votes in the Upper House, Yoshihide Suga today completed the remaining procedures to replace Shinzo Abe at the head of the country, who last month announced his resignation for reasons of health.
The hitherto Head of Cabinet and Minister Spokesperson, popularly known as ‘Uncle Reiwa’ because he was in charge of showing the world the name of the country’s new imperial era, has also announced the composition of the new Government, which will have 20 ministers and a clearly continuous line: eight repeat in office, three change portfolio, and only two are women.
The fact that only five of the ministers of the new Executive have never held the position before and that the average age of the Government is 60 years shows that Suga’s objective, who has already reached 71, is the stability of the country. No experiments.
Abe’s economic policies will continue to guide the country of the Rising Sun, and his successor’s great challenge will be weathering the great recession that has caused the coronavirus.
Suga is considered a politician who compensates for his lack of charisma with an extraordinary capacity for work, and, without a doubt, the extensive experience he accumulates in different positions of responsibility, as well as his ability to forge pacts, play in his favor.
However, after Abe, the longest-serving prime minister, Suga will have to legitimize himself before the public at the polls if he wants to make his mark. And he may not wait until the end of his term, in September next year, to do so.
Some Japanese analysts believe that he could call the polls even before the end of 2020.
In statements to the Kyodo agency, Yu Uchiyama, professor of Political Science at the University of Tokyo, is betting on next month, because that would allow him to take advantage of the vote of confidence that the Japanese usually give to a new government. Taro Kono, the new Minister for Reform, agrees and has assured that the best thing would be to hold elections before the United States.
If he achieves victory at the polls, Suga will have more time to try to solve the problems that concern the most in Japan: from the most imminent organization of the Tokyo Olympics, to the great socioeconomic burden posed by the aging of the population, passing due to the need to revitalize the business sector and to respond in the political and military fields to the growing threat posed by China.
Of course, to succeed in all those ambitious goals, Suga is well aware that he must first defeat another enemy: the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus