Insights | Nagatacho Update

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Yoshihide Suga to succeed Shinzo Abe as Prime Minister

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was today elected leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and will be formally appointed prime minister on 16 September. Suga won with more than 70% of the vote against former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba. 

GR Japan’s analysis looks at the nature of his victory, what it means for Japan, and where Suga is set to lead the nation. 
 

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GR Japan - Update on succession of Prime Minister Abe

Only days after he became the longest continuously-serving prime minister in Japan, today Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced to resign from his position, saying that he wishes to prevent his deteriorating health to interfere with his duties and judgment.  The candidates for permanent successors include Yoshihide Suga (Chief Cabinet Secretary), Taro Aso (Deputy Prime Minister), Ishiba Shigeru, and Fumio Kishida.  Confronted with a pandemic, economic downturn, and foreign policy challenges, turbulent times lie ahead for the one who takes the wheel after Abe

Rushed-through Japan-UK FTA signals importance of the relationship beyond trade - GR Japan latest report

Following the visit by Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Toshimitsu Motegi, to the UK last week, Japan and the UK have announced that negotiations on their free trade deal will soon reach a conclusion. The two nations went into the talks with distinct objectives - Japan was eager to secure early removal of tariffs on automobile and auto parts, while the UK wants greater access to Japan for its agricultural products.  The intense time pressure, however, has forced both sides to recalibrate their ambitions and shelve many trickier areas for future discussions.

JAPAN COVID-19 UPDATE

Japan’s government lifted the nationwide state of emergency on 25 May but some restrictions remain.  The government is now working to lift border restrictions in phases with business travellers allowed in first, and resumption of tourism later in the year. Following the record-breaking supplementary budget on 30 April, the government is now preparing a second, even larger package to tackle the crisis and support economic recovery.  The crisis has proved a challenge to Japanese leaders, with Abe’s ratings falling below 30% despite the low number of cases.

Japan Prime Minister Abe says postponing Olympics may be unavoidable

Japan’s response to COVID-19

The world is grappling with the rapid spread of COVID-19 and Japan is no exception.  The World Health Organization has stated that Europe is now the world’s COVID-19 pandemic epicenter. But Japan is in a delicate position as the country is gearing up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the timing of which is becoming increasingly uncertain.

Ordinary Diet Session Closed - PM Abe Focuses on G20 and the Upper House Election

The extraordinary Diet session was ended on Wednesday, 26 June, as scheduled.  Now Prime Minister Abe focuses on the success of the G20 summit that is held today and tomorrow.  It is crucial for him and his administration to appeal his diplomatic skills for the upcoming House of Councillors election scheduled on 21 July, aiming to win more than half of the 124 seats to be contested.

Ordinary Diet Session Starts Today - PM Abe Calls for Understanding for Upcoming Tax Hike

The 198th ordinary Diet session was convened today.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave a policy speech at the opening of the session, seeking understanding for his plan to raise the consumption tax from 8 percent to 10 percent in October. He also expressed his intention of amending the Constitution, settling the territorial dispute with Russia and signing a peace treaty, and strengthening the nation's cyber and space defense programs.

Extraordinary Diet session closed, ordinary Diet session expected to convene at the end of January

The extraordinary Diet session was ended yesterday as scheduled although the extension of the session was once considered as the opposition parties fiercely protected to deliberate a bill to accept more foreign workers into Japan as well as to revise the Water Supply Act to allow private companies to run municipal water services. The ordinary Diet session is said to be convened on the week of 28 January.  Prime Minister Abe's comments at the close of the session are available from NHK World sit

PM Abe's Renewed Cabinet Members Announced

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched his new cabinet on 2 October. He retained key veteran ministers to keep the basic framework of his administration intact while appointing 12 first-timers, the highest figure for any of the cabinets he formed. With his refreshed cabinet, Abe aims to tackle challenges facing Japan and complete Abenomics. For the complete list of the cabinet, please refer to  the Japan Times. 

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