Yoshihide Suga confirmed as Japan's new prime minister

Japanese Cabinet Resigns En Masse Ahead of Suga's Assumption of Premiership - Kyodo

The leader of Japan's main ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Suga Yoshihide, has been chosen as Japan's new prime minister by the country's Diet.

He is expected to announce his cabinet later on Wednesday, with local media reporting he will retain a number of ministers from Mr Abe's government.

Mr Suga has stressed his background as a farmer's son and a self-made politician while promising to serve the interests of ordinary people and rural communities.

Suga, who on Monday was elected leader of the LDP, is viewed as a continuity candidate and has said his run was inspired by a desire to pursue Abe's policies. "I'm indebted to all the people and I'd like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.I'd like to ask you all for your strong support and understanding for the Suga Cabinet that will launch today". "During this time, I was able to tackle various challenges together with the people, and I'm proud of myself". He gained the support of party heavyweights and their followers early in the campaign on expectations he would continue Abe's line.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Suga on his appointment and said he was looking forward to jointly take the "special strategic and global partnership" between the two countries to new heights.

While reiterating USA appreciation for Abe's years of effort in championing the bilateral alliance, a State Department spokesperson said in a statement, "We are watching the process of selecting a new prime minister with great interest". Abe, 65, said last month he was resigning because his treatment for ulcerative colitis would be ongoing and cause physical weakness. He said last month his condition has improved but, facing ongoing treatment and physical weakness, he made a decision to resign.

Suga promised that he would continue Abe's signature economic policies.

"The ambition of Mr. Suga to speed up and reinvigorate the process (of reform) is absolutely clear, but the next layer of personnel will be interesting", he said. In reshuffling key posts with the party, however, Suga evenly allocated top posts to key factions, a balancing act seen as returning the favour for their support in the leadership race. About half of the members in the Abe Cabinet are expected to be retained or shifted to different ministerial posts. For key Cabinet posts, Suga chose Taro Aso as finance minister, Toshimitsu Motegi as foreign minister and Yasutoshi Nishimura as minister in charge of economic revitalisation and the government's coronavirus response. He will succeed Shinzo Abe, who has resigned over health issues.

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