Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that he decided not to run in the upcoming leadership election for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), effectively giving up the premiership.
"I want to focus on coronavirus response, so I told the LDP executive meeting that I've decided not to run in the party leadership race," Suga told reporters. "I judged that I cannot juggle both and I should concentrate on either of them." The LDP is slated to start campaigning on Sept. 17 and hold its presidential election on Sept. 29.
Suga, who took over after Shinzo Abe resigned last September citing ill health, has seen his approval ratings drop below 30% as the nation struggles with its worst wave of COVID-19 infections ahead of a general election this year. Suga had earlier announced his intention for a second term, but he was losing support within the party as well as from the public amid increasing criticism over his ineffective response to the pandemic.
Having lost the public’s trust over his handling of the pandemic and the support of many members of his own Liberal Democratic Party, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga decided to call it a day.
Suga deserves to be severely criticized for abandoning his responsibility to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people at a time of explosive growth in COVID-19 cases.
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