Replacing Suga as prime minister will do little to resolve Japan’s political crisis | Paul O’Shea and Sebastian Maslow
Despite its unpopularity, the ruling LDP party looks unassailable. The country is stagnating because of it
Japan will soon have a new prime minister. Not because there is a general election coming up – although there is – but because the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP), the deeply unpopular Yoshihide Suga, abruptly resigned last week. Following a series of local election defeats, an Olympics staged against the public will, and a related fifth Covid wave that has pushed Japan’s medical system into “disaster mode”, Suga’s approval rating had plummeted to its lowest since the LDP’s return to power in 2012. Resignation was surely a wise decision, one that put the party first.
Given how disastrous the last few months have been, one might imagine that Suga’s replacement – almost certainly a man – would have his work cut out to avoid catastrophe in the general election. But that’s not how Japanese democracy works.