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Japanese PM Suga not running for party leadership in September Updated: 2021-09-03 17:03:53 KST

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will not be running in Japan's ruling party leadership election later this month, meaning he will be replaced just one year after taking office.
He announced on Friday that he will focus on tackling the pandemic rather than running.

"At the Liberal Democratic Party Committee, I said I would like to focus on COVID-19 measures. With that in mind, I have decided not to run in the party leadership elections."

The announcement was unexpected because he had earlier planned to run in the race.
Suga will finish his term and stay in office until later this month when the ruling Liberal Democratic Party elects a new leader on September 29th.
As the LDP holds the majority in the lower house, the new leader will be guaranteed to become Prime Minister.
But the party needs to secure a majority at the upcoming general election, expected in October, for the Prime Minister to stay in the post.

Suga took office last September to finish the final year of his predecessor Shinzo Abe's term after Abe stepped down due to health issues.
His approval rating has sharply fallen recently due to his mishandling of the pandemic.
Suga was planning to reshuffle the party executive and his cabinet, but to no avail, which could have further undermined his weak foothold.
When it comes to the relationship with South Korea, Seoul-Tokyo ties have shown little sign of improving under Suga over a series of historical and territorial issues.

A few Japanese political figures, including former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, are reportedly planning to run for the party leader post.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
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