Japan’s parliament approves new Prime Minister

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga unveils the new era name "Reiwa" at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, April 1, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Japan’s Yoshihide Suga, Shinzo Abe’s longtime right-hand man, was voted prime minister by parliament’s lower house on Wednesday. Suga will be the country’s first new leader in nearly eight years. His “continuity cabinet” is expected to keep about half of predecessor.

Suga, 71, has pledged to pursue many of Abe’s programmes, including his signature “Abenomics” economic strategy, forge ahead with structural reforms, including deregulation and streamlining bureaucracy. 

Abe resigned because of ill health after nearly eight years in office. Suga served under him in the pivotal post of chief cabinet secretary.

Suga won 314 votes out of 462 cast by parliament’s lower house members. The chamber takes precedence in electing a premier over the upper house, which was also expected to pick Suga because of a ruling bloc majority.