Yoshihide Suga is on the right track for a landslide victory in the race to develop into Japan’s next prime minister, an Asahi newspaper tally showed, as debate kicks off later Wednesday some of the three candidates vying to succeed long-time leader Shinzo Abe.
Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, has toughen to develop into party leader from 308 – nearly 80% – of ruling Liberal Democratic Party members with seats in parliament, the Asahi said.
That means Suga already has 58% of complete LDP votes – more than the majority required – without even counting the extra 141 votes that will come from party prefecture chapters.
The party leadership election will be held on Sept. 14, a date set after Abe’s decision to step down for health reasons. The winner is practically assured of turning into premier as a result of the LDP’s parliamentary majority.
Suga, former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba and ex-foreign minister Fumio Kishida will appear in a televised debate on Wednesday, making the case for who will have to lead the country after almost eight years under Abe.
Abe had early success with his “Abenomics” economic initiatives but the coronavirus pandemic has eradicated those gains.
Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, sank deeper into its worst postwar recession in the second one quarter of this year with a record 28% annualised contraction, government data showed the day gone by.
Suga said on Tuesday the biggest job for the new prime minister would be to revive the coronavirus-ravaged economy.
Ishiba has been a popular figure some of the public while Kishida has the diplomatic experience that Suga lacks, but they have got only a fraction of the LDP toughen that Suga enjoys, the Asahi tally shows.