Tokyo, Aug. 8 (Jiji Press)–Young Japanese ruling party politician Shinjiro Koizumi is ready to become a cabinet minister and is qualified to run as a successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
Speaking with Koizumi, 38, in an interview to be published Saturday on the monthly magazine Bungei Shunju, Suga, 70, said that Koizumi is fit to get a ministerial post in a cabinet shuffle expected in mid-September.
To the question, “Is Koizumi ready to become a cabinet minister” from the interviewer, Suga replied, “I think he is.” Both are members of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Koizumi has repeatedly shown a cautious stance on the prospect. Suga did not mention a suitable cabinet post for Koizumi, and the young lawmaker himself did not discuss the matter.
The interviewer also asked Suga whether Koizumi is qualified to run in a party presidential election. Abe’s term of office as LDP president ends in September 2021.
“I believe so,” Suga said. “It’s not too early. As long as he has the will, I don’t mind.”
“My father also has experience as prime minister, and I grew up watching him,” Koizumi said of Junichiro. “There are many factors in what makes a good prime minister.”
Asked about strong demands on Japan by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump in trade talks, Suga said, “A large part of what it’s saying may be for its domestic audience.”
“I think harsh negotiations lie ahead, but ultimately I’m not worried,” Suga added, confident that the two sides will be able to reach a deal.
On a U.S. proposal to form an international mission to protect shipping from Iran, Suga suggested that Japan would be cooperating in some way.
“We can’t be a bystander,” he said. “Our basic stance is to do what we can.”