Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that he would not run for re-election as party leader this month, and would effectively end his term after just one year.
سوگا Toshihiro Nikai told reporters that he intended to resign at an emergency meeting of senior members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
“At today’s executive meeting, (party) President Soga said he wanted to focus his efforts on anti-corona virus measures and would not run in the leadership election,” Nikai said.
He added: “Really, I’m surprised. It’s really sad. He did his best but after careful consideration he made this decision.”
The announcement of the shock comes at a time when Suga’s approval rating is low at all times in terms of its government’s response to epidemics.
But it was an unpredictable decision. Suga made no plans to step down after just one year in power and before contesting his first general election.
He took office last year, leaving the post of former Japanese prime minister vacant. Shinzo Abe Resigned for health reasons
Suga was expected to be re-elected as LDP leader in the September 29 vote, with much speculation as to how soon he would call a general election.
Elections should be called by the end of October, and the LDP is expected to remain in power but possibly lose seats as a result of Suga’s unpopularity.
According to a survey by the Kyodo News Agency last month, his government’s approval rating fell to a low of 31.8%.
And recent reports of cabinet reshuffles, in an attempt to curb his unpopularity, seem insufficient.
Suga is upset by his government’s response to the epidemic, with Japan battling a record fifth wave of the virus since the slow start of its vaccine program.
Much of the country is currently subject to virus restrictions, and these measures have been in place in some areas for almost the entire year.
But they are not enough to stem the tide of more contagious delta-type cases, even though the vaccine program has completely vaccinated about 43 percent of the population.
About 16,000 deaths have been recorded in Japan during epidemics.
Suga, 72, was elected prime minister last year, marking the beginning of a long political career.
Prior to taking office, he served in a prominent role as Chief Cabinet Secretary, and gained a formidable reputation for using his power to control Japan’s vast and powerful bureaucracy.
The son of a strawberry farmer and schoolteacher, Suga grew up in rural Ekita in the north. Japan And after working in a factory and moving to Tokyo, he enrolled in college.
He was elected to his first office as a member of the Municipal Assembly in Yokohama outside Tokyo in 1987 and entered Parliament in 1996.