- Title: Japanese Prime Minister Suga to run in LDP leadership race
- Date: 26th August 2021
- Summary: In late 2019, Suga spoke at a symposium hosted by the Japanese government on the topic of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea. The symposium featured the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student taken prisoner by North Korea in 2016 and who died days after he was returned to the United States. TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - DECEMBER 14, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** THEN JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY AND MINISTER IN CHARGE OF THE ABDUCTION ISSUE, YOSHIHIDE SUGA, WALKING TO THE PODIUM SUGA SPEAKING On September 2, 2020, Suga declared he would run for the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a race he was heavily favoured to win to become the next prime minister. TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - SEPTEMBER 2, 2020) (REUTERS) THEN JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY YOSHIHIDE SUGA WEARING A FACE MASK WALKING INTO NEWS CONFERENCE / SUGA BOWING AND POSING FOR PHOTOS SUGA STANDING IN FRONT OF THE PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) THEN JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY, YOSHIHIDE SUGA, SAYING: "I thought deeply as a politician and as somebody who supported the Abe administration what I should do. As a result, I made the decision to stand as a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party." On September 8, 2020, the LDP leadership election campaign officially began. Suga kicked off the day with a ceremony, followed by a public face-off event with the other two candidates, Shigeru Ishiba and Fumio Kishida. TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - SEPTEMBER 8, 2020) (REUTERS) SUGA WALKING UP TO THE STAGE AND BOWING TO ATTENDEES (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) THEN JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY, YOSHIHIDE SUGA, SAYING: "While we also think about the post-coronavirus era, I want to exhaust an utmost effort to protect people's livelihoods."
- Embargoed: 9th September 2021 08:27
- Keywords: Chief Cabinet Secretary Japan Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga leadership politics race vote
- Location: TOKYO, OKINAWA, JAPAN / JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES / CARBIS BAY, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: TOKYO, OKINAWA, JAPAN / JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES / CARBIS BAY, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA004ERY22PZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to face one or more challengers in a Sept. 29 ruling party leadership race as he struggles with crumbling approval rates ahead of a general election.
Former foreign minister Fumio Kishida was expected to announce his candidacy for Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president on Thursday. Suga has said he would seek re-election.
The winner is assured of being prime minister because of the LDP's majority in parliament's lower house.
In a general election that must be called by Nov. 28, the LDP-led coalition is not expected to lose its majority in the powerful lower house, but forecasts suggest that Suga's party could lose the majority that it holds on its own, an outcome that would weaken whoever is leading the LDP.
Suga, 72, took office last September with support of about 70% but his ratings have sunk below 30% as Japan battles its worst wave of COVID-19 infections and many of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers fear for their seats.
LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, who was key to Suga's victory last year, said on Wednesday he still backs the prime minister. The party's smallest faction, led by former cabinet minister Nobuteru Ishihara, was also lining up behind Suga, Jiji news agency reported.
Other party bosses, including former premier Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso, have not commented publicly.
Unlike last year, grass-roots LDP members will vote along with the party's members of parliament, which could make the outcome harder to predict. And novice MPs, fearful of losing their seats, maybe wary of following their elders' orders.
Suga's dream scenario had been to call the general election in September after hosting the Olympics but that was upended by the COVID-19 surge. The Sankei newspaper said on Thursday that would be held in October or later.
Suga's pandemic response suffered another setback after Moderna Inc said it has withheld 1.63 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Japan after a report of contamination.
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