“Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe’s leadership diplomacy was truly amazing. I don’t think I can match that.” — Yoshihide Suga, Sept. 12, 2020

Japan is incrementally becoming more of a consequential international actor amidst an increasingly complex international security environment, and so Tokyo concomitantly faces a greater array of national security challenges requiring nimble and effective policymaking. Unfortunately for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, there will be no honeymoon period during which he can comfortably settle into his new job. There is no doubt that Suga is a highly effectual policy coordinator, but he will need to draw upon the national security expertise of other senior officials in formulating and executing a national security agenda for Japan — irrespective of whether he proves to be a transitional figure, or a transformational one.

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