National / Politics

Shinjiro Koizumi is ready for Cabinet and qualified to succeed Abe as Japan PM, says Suga

JIJI, Kyodo

Shinjiro Koizumi, a rising star in the Liberal Democratic Party, is ready to become a Cabinet minister and is qualified to run as a successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said.

Speaking with Koizumi, 38, in an interview to be published Saturday in the monthly magazine Bungei Shunju, the 70-year-old Suga said there is a possibility that Koizumi could land a ministerial post in a Cabinet shuffle expected in mid-September.

Koizumi has repeatedly shied away from questions about a possible Cabinet post.

Suga did not mention a suitable ministerial position for the young lawmaker and Koizumi did not discuss the matter in the interview.

The interviewer also asked Suga whether Koizumi is qualified to run in a party presidential election.

“I believe so,” Suga said. “It’s not too early. As long as he has the will, I don’t mind.”

Abe’s term as LDP president is due to end in September 2021.

“My father has experience as prime minister, and I grew up watching him,” Koizumi said of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. “There are many factors in what makes a good prime minister.”

Both Koizumi and Suga were elected from Kanagawa Prefecture and Koizumi often visits Suga at his office. On Wednesday, Koizumi visited Suga with Christel Takigawa to inform him of their marriage before making it public immediately afterward.

Asked about strong demands on Japan by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump in trade talks, Suga said, “A large part of what it’s saying may be for its domestic audience.”

“I think harsh negotiations lie ahead, but ultimately I’m not worried,” Suga added.