National / Politics

Japan's top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, among post-Abe candidates, LDP heavyweight says

JIJI

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is among those who may take over the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also serves as LDP president, the party’s secretary-general has said.

Suga “has done very well as chief Cabinet secretary in this difficult period,” Toshihiro Nikai said in an interview with the monthly magazine Bungei Shunju. “He is capable enough (of serving as LDP president).”

Suga, the country’s longest-serving chief Cabinet secretary, has long been in the public eye, but gained an iconic spot in the popular consciousness after announcing the new era name, Reiwa, at a nationally televised news conference last Monday.

Nikai, however, said he does not mean to put Suga forward as a candidate in the next LDP leadership race.

The interview is set to be published in the magazine’s next issue, due out Wednesday.

Concerning speculation about possible simultaneous elections for both chambers of the Diet, Nikai said it was important to focus on the planned summer Upper House election.

However, he said, if Abe decides to hold a double election, the LDP would definitely accept his decision.