Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga steps down after just a year in office amid anger over COVID response

Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga has announced he will not run for the leadership of his governing party later this month after just a year in office amid anger over COVID response. 

“The battle against the coronavirus takes a vast amount of energy and I don’t feel it is possible to carry on with that and fight the upcoming election for the party leadership,” said Suga in a brief statement to reporters, during which he took no questions.

Mr. Suga’s appointment to the role follows the resignation of Shinzo Abe a year ago.

The shock announcement comes as approval ratings on Mr. Yoshihide Suga drops to an all-time low.

Japan,  still under a state of emergency is now grappling with its worst-ever Covid wave. The country, which has now seen more than 1.5 million virus cases, has also seen a slow vaccination rollout.

The decision to host the Olympics Games this year despite the worsening pandemic also made the matter worst. 

According to a report, “Today at the executive meeting, [Mr] Suga said he wants to focus his efforts on anti-coronavirus measures and will not run in the leadership election,” said the secretary-general of Mr. Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP),

“Honestly, I’m surprised. It’s truly regrettable. He did his best but after careful consideration, he made this decision,” he said.

The ruling LDP is due to hold an election on Sept 29 to pick its president. The winner of the leadership election is widely expected to be Japan’s leader as the LDP holds a parliamentary majority.

By Taiyelolu A

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