Japan

Japan’s vaccines minister Kono leads opinion poll on succeeding Suga

Reuters
Japan’s vaccines minister Kono leads opinion poll on succeeding Suga

FRONTRUNNER. Taro Kono, Japan's vaccination program chief and ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, attends a news conference as he announces his candidacy for the party's presidential election in Tokyo, Japan on September 10, 2021.

Issei Kato/Reuters

Vaccines minister Taro Kono leads at 27%, followed by ex-LDP secretary-general Shigeru Ishiba with 17%

Japan’s minister in charge of vaccines, Taro Kono, led a public opinion poll on who should succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Kono had 27% support in the poll by the Nikkei newspaper and TV Tokyo that asked who would be “the right person” to lead the party and become the next prime minister.

The results of the September 9 to 11 poll were released on Saturday, September 11.

Former LDP secretary-general Shigeru Ishiba was next with 17%, and ex-policy chief Fumio Kishida was third with 14%. Former Interior Minister Sanae Takaichi was fifth with 7%.

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Kono, who also serves as minister of administrative reform, announced his candidacy on Friday, September 10, the third to make his intention official after Kishida and Takaichi.

Ishiba may not run for the party’s leadership and instead will likely support another candidate, the Jiji news service said Saturday, citing sources close to him.

Suga, in a surprise move, said on September 3 he would step down, marking an end to a one-year tenure that was marred by plunging public support and dissatisfaction with his coronavirus response.

That set the stage for a September 29 leadership vote among grassroots LDP members and lawmakers. The winner is virtually assured the premiership because the LDP has a majority in parliament’s lower house.

Japan’s vaccines minister Kono leads opinion poll on succeeding Suga

Following the LDP leadership vote, Japan will likely hold a general election in the first half of November, Kyodo reported citing ruling party lawmakers.

The Nikkei/TV Tokyo poll follows earlier ones showing strong public support for Kono, 58, to succeed Suga. – Rappler.com