Who is Sanae Takaichi? Japan PM candidate could succeed Suga

Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who succeeded the nation’s longest-serving chief in historical past, is stepping down after only one yr on the helm of the ruling Liberal Democratic Social gathering. The wildly unpopular Suga stated final week that he wouldn’t search re-election, clearing the trail for a brand new premier to take cost of the world’s third-largest financial system on the finish of September.

Within the wake of Suga’s resolution, two formally declared candidates and a handful of undeclared hopefuls have emerged as potential replacements. Notably, among the many declared candidates is Sanae Takaichi, who is the celebration’s second-ever feminine contender for the highest spot, and who would turn out to be the nation’s first feminine prime minister if elected. Though frontrunners are nonetheless in flux, Takaichi—who served as head of inner affairs and communications in former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cupboard—has received the endorsement of the influential earlier chief, who serves on Japan’s parliament and whose hand could tip the scales within the vote.

Nonetheless, a victory for Takaichi within the deeply patriarchal society of Japan will not be as progressive because it appears. Takaichi’s views and insurance policies intently mirror these of her former superior Abe: Each are staunch conservatives. Each are members of far-right ultranationalists Nippon Kaigi—a bunch of monarchists that seeks to revive the emperor to divine energy, denies the brutality of Japanese troops throughout World Conflict II’s Nanjing Bloodbath, and opposes feminism and gender equality. Controversially, each Abe and Takaichi have visited the Yasukuni Shrine, a landmark the place greater than 1,000 convicted battle criminals are honored alongside those that died in battle. Through the years, the shrine has been politicized as a glorification of Japanese militarism and its previous wartime aggressions. Takaichi has additionally favored punishing media retailers that criticize the federal government, and imprisoning individuals who harm the Japanese flag.


Her current marketing campaign pledges to uplift Japan’s pandemic-battered financial system with a coverage dubbed “Sanaenomics”—an homage to Abe’s signature “Abenomics,” which referred to as for sturdy fiscal stimulus and financial easing. She is additionally a proponent of nuclear energy, somewhat than renewables comparable to photo voltaic or wind power. Within the international coverage area, she has promised a troublesome stance towards China.

Takaichi seems to be powerful in different methods, too: In line with media reports, she is a heavy metallic music fan who performed drums as an adolescent, and drove bikes earlier than giving up the pastime as a politician. Coming into the race as an outlier, she’s going to probably have to remain powerful to beat out her fellow hopefuls, together with the longest-serving former international minister, Fumio Kishida, and former protection minister Taro Kono, who has scored high popularity with the general public regardless of overseeing Japan’s sluggish vaccine distribution. Kono is backed by outgoing Prime Minister Suga, who struggled with adverse publicity over his dealing with of the COVID-19 disaster.