TOKYO – As a close aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Yoshihide Suga was retained as chief Cabinet secretary, the public face of the government who is also tasked with crisis management and damage control.
Suga, 70, has been dubbed “Uncle Reiwa” on social media after he revealed in a televised press conference the two Chinese characters for Japan’s new imperial era name that has been in use since May 1.
Known for his behind-the-scenes coordination skills, Suga has been rumored to be a candidate to succeed Abe even though he has dismissed the idea publicly.
Suga has been the top government spokesman since Abe returned to power in 2012. A native of Akita Prefecture, he worked as a secretary for a lawmaker and served in the Yokohama city assembly before winning a House of Representatives seat in 1996.