Japan's Suga signals readiness to prod BOJ to ease more

Japan's Suga signals readiness to prod BOJ to ease more”

The LDP's majority in the lower house of parliament will ensure the party's next leader will succeed him as prime minister.

Suga, 71, who has been Abe's right-hand man for almost eight years, had reportedly won the backing of the largest faction of the LDP, and it is widely believed that he will stay the policy course set out by Abe.

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party said on Tuesday that it would hold a slimmed-down election to pick a successor to Shinzo Abe, who is stepping down as both party chief and prime minister.

Several groups of lawmakers who don't belong to any faction are also supporting him.

Ishiba, 63, said on a TV program that "the odds are decisively against" him but maintained it is important for voters to consider Japan's future under different potential prime ministers.

The two other contenders in the election, being held following Abe's announcement last Friday that he will resign as prime minister due to ill health, are former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba.

In a departure from the regular process, the ruling party, with about 1.08 million members across the country, has made a decision to only allow 394 lawmakers and 141 delegates from local chapters to vote in the election.

Now that numerous LDP's most powerful factions have coalesced around him, experts said Mr Suga appears to have an nearly insurmountable lead in the race.

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These were the details of the news Japan defence chief Kono backs Suga for prime minister, but keeps eye on top job for this day.

Ishiba, 63, is not seen as popular among LDP legislators due to his anti-Abe stance, but he is a favourite in public opinion polls.

If chosen as prime minister, Suga said he would push forward with "Abenomics", Abe's signature policy mix based on the three arrows of monetary easing by the Bank of Japan, fiscal stimulus through government spending and structural reforms.

INSIDE STORY | What's Shinzo Abe's legacy?

The Japan-US security alliance, developed through the friendship between Mr Abe and US president Donald Trump, "needs to be further deepened" within the limitations of Japan's pacifist constitution, he said. He's become known as "Uncle Reiwa" after he was tasked with unveiling the new imperial era name for Emperor Naruhito previous year.

Despite his reputation as a maverick he has, nonetheless, toed the line on key Abe policies, including a tough approach toward South Korea in a feud over wartime history.

They said that Abe's policies tended to ignore the voices of ordinary people and that they intent to address the economic and social divisions that had widened under Abe.

Neither man has proposed any major changes in Japan's security and diplomatic policies. He is expected to serve the remainder of Abe's term as party leader until September 2021. There are no women contenders.

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