Japan Parliament elects Yoshihide Suga new PM

TOKYO • Japan’s Parliament yesterday elected Yoshihide Suga (picture) prime minister (PM), with the former chief Cabinet secretary expected to stick closely to policies championed by Shinzo Abe during his record-breaking tenure.

“According to the results, our house has decided to name Yoshihide Suga PM,” lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima told Parliament after the votes were counted.

Suga, 71, won an easy victory, taking 314 votes of 462 valid ballots cast in the lower house of Parliament, where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds a commanding majority with its coalition partner.

He bowed deeply as lawmakers applauded following the announcement, but made no immediate comment.

Suga said he will prioritise keeping Covid-19 infections under control and kick-starting Japan’s economy, and promised to continue Abe’s key policy programmes.

He announced Japan’s new Cabinet yesterday, hours after being formally elected. Like the one it replaces, the Cabinet is dominated by Liberal Democratic Party stalwarts.

More than half of the new Cabinet ministers are older than 60, only two are women and no one from the private sector made the cut.

The new PM picked Abe’s younger brother Nobuo Kishi as defence minister. The appointment could irritate China, since Kishi is known for his close ties to Taiwan, which Beijing sees as part of its territory. — AFP