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The unlikely rise of a farmer's son who could be Japan's next prime minister

September 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

If Shinzo Abe was perhaps born to be Japan's prime minister, the path to political stardom for his potential successor was hardly guaranteed.

(CNN)If Shinzo Abe was perhaps born to be Japan's prime minister, the path to political stardom for his potential successor was hardly guaranteed.

Yoshihide Suga is seen by many political analysts as the front runner to replace Prime Minister Abe, who announced last month he was stepping down due to complications related to colitis, a non-curable inflammatory bowel disease that he was able to manage for most of his tenure.

Suga and Abe's careers have been tied for nearly a decade since the latter became prime minister in 2012.

Suga was Abe's right-hand man the entire time, serving as the Prime Minister's cabinet secretary, a role akin to a combination of chief of staff and press secretary.

If chosen to be prime minister, Suga is expected to be something of an "Abe substitute," said Kazuto Suzuki, a vice dean and professor of international politics at Hokkaido University.

Brad Glosserman, an expert on Japanese politics, said Suga has not yet shown "he's in any way a real departure from both the Abe line or even out of the mainstream of the LDP, in general. "

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