Japan could return to revolving door leadership after Shinzo Abe
Yoshihide Suga will represent Japan at this week's UN General Assembly just days after replacing the country's longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
By the numbers: Suga, 71, may find Abe's longevity hard to match. Japan had 17 prime ministers in the 14 years before Abe took office.
- By contrast, Angela Merkel will soon mark 15 years as Germany's chancellor.
Driving the news: Since Abe resigned due to chronic health issues, Suga has undergone "a rapid image makeover from a tough backroom enforcer of the prime minister’s policies to a warmer rallying figure best equipped to continue" the legacy of the man he served for nearly eight years as chief cabinet secretary, per WSJ.
- His main offering, to his party and his country, has been continuity. Suga's new cabinet includes just two women but 11 Abe holdovers. One of the eight additions is Abe's brother, as defense minister.
- While Abe was heir to one of Japan's most prominent political dynasties, Suga's parents were farmers.
- He's considered shrewd and hard-working, but not particularly charismatic. It's unclear whether he'll play as visible a role on the world stage as his predecessor, who boasted strong personal relationships with leaders including President Trump.
What to expect: Suga's speech to the nearly all-virtual UN General Assembly was recorded over the weekend, per Nikkei, but won't be streamed until this Saturday.
- He'll emphasize continuity with Abe's priorities of "freedom, democracy and the rule of law," stress the importance of collaboration on vaccine distribution, and call for international cooperation "to resolve the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea," Nikkei reports.
- The speeches will begin Tuesday, with speakers including President Trump, China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin.