Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Sept. 3 announcement that he will not run for re-election as the head of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) surprised some and relieved others as he leaves behind a mixed legacy during a tumultuous year in office.

Suga’s successor will encounter an overtaxed health care system struggling with COVID-19, a recalcitrant Xi Jinping and a damaged economy facing headwinds. Other immediate challenges involve addressing the country’s demographic crisis, reinvigorating private sector companies and managing critical geopolitical relationships that are key to collective security.

While media reports are replete with accounts of the prime minister’s shortcomings, it is important to note that Suga’s record consists of both failures and policy accomplishments.