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Suga detailing his resignation on Japanese television. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday he will not seek re-election as the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party this month, bringing his time as prime minister to an end ahead of a general election on Nov. 28.

Why it matters: Japan is the world's third-largest economy and a key U.S. ally. Suga became the first world leader to visit the White House in-person in April, where he and President Biden announced a "new era" in U.S.-Japan relations aimed in part at countering China's influence in the Indo-Pacific.

The big picture: The 72-year-old Suga saw his approval rating plummet after a surge in COVID-19 cases that coincided with the Tokyo Olympics.

  • His short stint in office followed that of Shinzo Abe, who was the longest-serving prime minister in Japan's history before he resigned in September 2020 due to chronic health issues.
  • Suga's departure may spark fears of a return to revolving-door leadership in Japan. The country had 17 prime ministers in the 14 years before Abe took office in 2012.

What to watch: The dominant LDP is still favored to win Japan's parliamentary elections in November, and neither of Suga's likely successors — former foreign minister Fumio Kishida and former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi — are expected to change his general policies, per the Wall Street Journal.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 14, 2021 - World

Japan's new prime minister dissolves Parliament for elections

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during an October news conference in Tokyo. Photo: Toru Hanai/Pool/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the lower house of the country's Parliament on Thursday, clearing the way for elections on Oct. 31, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Kishida is seeking a mandate to govern 10 days after he was elected as prime minister by Japan's Parliament. The country faces the threat of a potential COVID-19 resurgence while trying to revive the world's third-largest economy and working with the U.S. and other allies to address security threats.

Kenyan president visits White House amid corruption claims

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta visits the White House in 2014. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden will announce Thursday during a visit by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to the White House that the U.S. will donate an additional 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union.

Why it matters: Biden is belatedly seeking to bolster U.S. engagement with the region, which has been a low priority as the administration goes all in on countering China in the Indo-Pacific. But Biden's choice for the first African leader to visit his White House has raised some eyebrows.

Oct 13, 2021 - World

Iraq elections boost nationalist al-Sadr at expense of pro-Iran bloc

Al-Sadr supporters celebrate in Baghdad. Photo: Ayman Yaqoob/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Abu Dhabi — Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has emerged from Sunday's parliamentary elections as the leading figure in Iraqi politics.

Why it matters: Al-Sadr has positioned himself as a bulwark against foreign interference in Iraq. He has a history of violent opposition to U.S. forces in the country but has more recently proved adept at presenting himself to regional and international partners as a more palatable alternative to pro-Iranian rivals.