Japan's Outgoing Prime Minister Backs COVID-19 Tzar As Successor

Japan's Outgoing Prime Minister Backs COVID-19 Tzar as Successor

TOKYO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 17th September, 2021) Outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that he wanted the cabinet minister in charge of COVID-19 vaccination to succeed him as the leader of the governing party, who will eventually take the country's top job.

Four people are running in the Liberal Democratic Party's leadership contest. They are vaccine tsar and frontrunner Taro Kono, former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi and former gender equality minister Seiko Noda.

Suga praised Kono's skills in organizing the vaccination campaign amid what he referred to as a national crisis, and insisted that continuity was key to dealing with the pandemic.

"It is extremely important to advance COVID-19 measures. With this in mind, I express my support for Taro Kono, although I want to see all candidates take an active part in the debates," he was quoted as saying by the Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

Suga will leave office after his term expires this month, having served only a year as prime minister before a surge in infectious cases caused his approval rating to plummet. The leadership election is set for September 29. Two women will vie for his job for the first time ever.