Who is Yoshihide Suga, the new Prime Minister of Japan?
Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Atalaya

Who is Yoshihide Suga?

Born as a son of a strawberry farmer, Suga grew up in rural Akita prefecture in northern Japan and left for Tokyo instead of taking over his family’s farm.

He worked at a cardboard factory before entering university, and paid his tuition by working part time, including at the Tsukiji fish market.

How did he become Japan's new Prime Minister?

Suga was elected to the lower house of parliament in 1996 at age 47, a late start compared to politicians like Abe, a third-generation politician elected to parliament at 29. Before that, Suga was a secretary to a former trade minister and a Yokohama city assemblyman.

Suga has been a loyal supporter of Abe since the latter’s first stint as prime minister in 2006. He helped Abe return to power in 2012, until he resigned over ill health.

During Abe’s term, Suga helped to push through several landmark policies, including a loosening of restrictions on foreign workers.

When Abe announced his intention to resign in August, Suga struggled to break 15 per cent in opinion polls. But Japan’s public has warmed to him, as it became clear he would take over and bring familiar policies to an uncertain time.

2212 suga1

Yoshihide Suga

Photo: BBC.com

Potential challenges ahead

Top on the Suga administration’s list is to revive the economy and bring the coronavirus under control. In the longer term, the government will tackle issues such as the low birth rate and ageing population.

He has told the president of the International Olympic Committee that he is behind next year’s delayed Tokyo Games.

Suga has said he would continue Abe’s signature “Abenomics” strategy of a flexible fiscal stance and ultra-easy monetary policy.

He has pledged to target vested interests and rules hampering reforms to get more done. One such plan is to form an agency to promote digital transformation.

The leader also promised to make fertility treatments eligible to be covered by national health insurance to help boost the country’s birth rate, and to revive regional economies that have shrivelled along with the greying population.

Suga is known to support what would be a historic change in Japan’s immigration policy to allow more foreign workers to offset the decline in Japan’s ageing workforce.

The new leader, whose résumé is thin on diplomatic experience, faces challenges such as balancing Japan’s economic interdependence on China at a time when it is increasing its activities in the disputed East China Sea, and also maintaining ties with neighbours such as South Korea, where ties are at their lowest point in years.

Who is Yoshihide Suga's wife?

Digging deeper into this new Prime Minister's private life, mainichi.jp updated that Mariko Suga, the woman who became Japan's new first lady on Wednesday, gave a rare public speech before supporters of her husband in his constituency in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

Her quiet demeanor is a stark contrast to that of Suga's predecessor Shinzo Abe's wife and former first lady Akie, a socialite who has often posted on social media about meeting with celebrities and other public figures.

She has tirelessly assisted Suga throughout his career, even though he has rarely, if ever, slept at their home in Yokohama in recent years, instead staying in lawmakers' accommodation near the premier's office to be able to swiftly respond to any emergencies.

Suga, who is also known for his aversion to the limelight, has said he had a hard time convincing his wife to let him run for leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. But in the end, she chose the tie he wore on Sept. 2 when he announced his candidacy.

The couple met while Suga was working as a secretary for the late Hikosaburo Okonogi, a former House of Representatives lawmaker, and have three sons.

2257 suga2

Mariko Suga

Photo: Celebpie.com

What’s Suga like in his personal life?

At 71 years and 9 months, Suga is the oldest leader to take office in three decades, a fact belied by his work ethic and disciplined fitness routine.

He does 100 sit-ups each in the morning and at night, and takes long walks while wearing a business suit to be better able to rush back to work in case of an emergency.

Suga commutes from a parliamentary apartment and hardly goes back to his home in Yokohama. He only eats soba noodles for lunch, which he says allows him to finish his meal within five minutes.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” is Suga’s motto. His strong-willed nature has led one observer to compare him with China’s billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma, whose own catchphrase is “never give up”.

who is moon jae in the president of south korea Who is Moon Jae-In - The President of South Korea

Who is The President of South Korea: Moon Jae-in is a politician who in is the 12th President of South Korea. He took office in ...

who is shinzo abe former prime minister of japan Who is Shinzo Abe - former prime minister of Japan?

Shinzo Abe politically belongs to the Democratic Liberal Party and serves as the president of the party and also the chairman of the parliamentary group ...

who is pele early life career and achievements Who is Pele: Early Life, Career and Achievements

Pelé is widely considered to be the best football player of his time and of all times. He has won three FIFA World Cups and ...