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Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga steps down one month after Tokyo Olympics

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga would not run for re-election as party leader this month, effectively ending his tenure after just one year

Japan PM Yoshihide Suga (Source: Guardian)
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Japan PM Yoshihide Suga steps down (Source: Guardian)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 2021-09-03T17:08:46+05:30

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that he would not run for re-election as party leader this month, effectively ending his tenure after just one year.

The move comes after completing his one-year tenure, which was marred by an unpopular COVID-19 response and depleting public support.

Suga, took over the charge as Prime Minister of Japan after Shinzo Abe resigned last September because of ill health. He steps down as the PM after his approval ratings drop below 30%. Japan still struggles with its worst wave of COVID-19 infections ahead of a general election this year.

Suga did not capitalize on his last major achievement - hosting the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed months before he took office as coronavirus cases surged. The Games did not boost his ratings amid the resurgence of the pandemic in the country.

One survey showed that roughly one-third of the population disapproved of holding the Games in Tokyo and 60% said they did not want Suga to stay as the PM, according to the poll conducted by Asahi newspaper. The poll that was conducted after the Olympics, suggested his support slid to 28%, the lowest since he became prime minister in September last year.

Of those polled, 56% of those who replied said it was good to hold the Tokyo Games, while 32% thought it was a bad idea.

Much of the country is currently under virus restrictions, and the measures have been in place in some areas for almost the entire year.

But they have been insufficient to stop a surge in cases driven by the more contagious Delta variant, even as the vaccine programme has picked up pace with nearly 43 percent of the population fully inoculated.

Japan has recorded nearly 16,000 deaths during the pandemic.

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