TOKYO – As minister of economy, trade and industry, Isshu Sugawara will be charged with enforcing Japan’s tightened export controls on South Korea despite a fierce backlash from the country.
A two-time senior vice minister, the 57-year-old is currently in his sixth term in the House of Representatives. Not belonging to any of the Liberal Democratic Party’s major factions, he is a close ally of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Sugawara is known as a vocal advocate for reducing Japan’s reliance on nuclear energy and switching to renewables, a cause he will be able to advance with his new portfolio.
The Tokyo native worked at a major trading house before being elected to a local assembly in 1991. He is also known as a skilled dancer, having performed with Sam, a member of Japanese pop band TRF, in their youth.