Less than a year after assuming the role as prime minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga announced Friday that he would not be seeking re-election as leader of the governing party. The 72-year-old’s brief administration has been historically unpopular with the people of the country.
Suga became prime minister following Shinzo Abe’s resignation last August due to ill health. Abe, who served close to eight consecutive years in power, was preceded by a period of instability during which the country had six prime ministers in as many years.
Suga’s stint in office has been plagued by public dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the Olympic games last month, and a new wave of coronavirus cases – the country’s worst yet.
The prime minister has seemingly spent the past weeks assessing whether he would be able to pull off maintaining his position of power, but concluded Friday that there is no path forward.
At a last-minute press conference on Friday afternoon, the prime minister announced he would not be seeking re-election. New party leadership contests are scheduled to begin in two weeks and Suga says he needs to spend his time focusing on managing the pandemic, not vying for reelection.
“I realized that I need enormous energy … I cannot do both. I have to choose one,” he said.