Suga’s handling of the pandemic has left his ratings at an all-time low.
Current Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has only held his position for about a year, having taken over for Shinzo Abe back in August 2020. Unfortunately, taking up the position of one of the most powerful legislators in Japan in the middle of a global pandemic proved to be a bad decision for Suga, as his handling of COVID-19’s presence in Japan has been met with fierce and widespread criticism. Japan has faced record-high case rates, exasperated by vaccine stall-outs arising from bureaucratic confusion. By the end of last month, Suga’s approval ratings dropped below 30%, and as of today, it seems it’s finally too much.
Suga announced today that he would be stepping down from his position of Prime Minister at the end of September. Younger members of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, which currently holds a majority in its government, have expressed frustration with Suga, saying they cannot work under him, while Suga himself has apparently had difficulty working with the party’s older, senior members. This friction, coupled with the stress of managing the pandemic and planning a reelection campaign, brought Suga to the conclusion that he simply couldn’t handle all three.
“Both require a lot of energy. … So I felt I should focus on measures to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19,” Suga said at a press conference Friday.
The party’s senior members, while surprised at the announcement, have accepted it. “To be honest I am surprised, but I think he made the decision after thorough consideration. We believe that it is not appropriate for us to question him about it,” said Toshihiro Nikai, the party’s secretary general.