Tokyo: Yoshihide Suga has been elected as Japan's new prime minister following a vote in the Japanese Parliament on Wednesday. This comes after the resignation of Shinzo Abe, who had stepped down from the post last month citing ill health.
Suga, who is a close aide of Abe, is expected to carry his predecessor's legacy forward with an emphasis on the same policies.
The outgoing Prime Minister Abe on Wednesday held his final cabinet meeting and told reporters he was proud of his achievements during his nearly eight years in power.
Subsequently, Suga then easily won a the election held in the Diet, Japan's lower house, by receiving 314 out of 462 votes. His win did not come as surprise as a coalition headed by his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) holds the majority in the house.
Suga, along with his new cabinet, will be ceremonially endorsed by the Emperor of Japan at the Imperial Palace.
The new prime minister will take charge amid challenges thrown up both both the ongoing coronavirus crisis as well as the slumping economy.
Another challenge that he will be confronted with is the ageing population in the country, with nearly a third of the population older than 65.
Suga has served for years as Chief Cabinet Secretary, the most senior role in government after the prime minister. The new Prime Minister has promised to carry on much of the previous administration's agenda, including the economic reform programme dubbed "Abenomics."
Suga, 71, is the son of strawberry farmers, and unlike most Japanese politicians, comes from a humble background. He first worked as a secretary for an LDP lawmaker before starting his own career in politics.
In 2005, he became a cabinet minister under Junichiro Koizumi and gained further influence in the subsequent Abe cabinet. As per reports, Abe, the outgoing prime minister, strongly supported his right hand man's bid for the leadership.