Japan’s Yoshihide Suga was voted prime minister by parliament on Wednesday to become the country’s first new leader in nearly eight years, appointing a new cabinet that kept about half of the familiar faces from predecessor Shinzo Abe’s lineup. Suga, 71, Abe’s longtime right-hand man, has pledged to pursue many of Abe’s programs, including his “Abenomics” economic strategy, and to forge ahead with structural reforms.
On Monday, Mr. Suga, the longtime chief cabinet secretary to Mr. Abe, was overwhelmingly elected as leader of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party during a conclave at a luxury Tokyo hotel. The party has governed Japan for all but four years since World War II and controls Parliament, virtually assuring that Mr. Suga will be elected prime minister during a special session this week.
More than 40 crew members were missing after a ship carrying cattle from New Zealand to China capsized in stormy weather in the East China Sea, the Japanese coastguard said on Thursday. The ship, with a cargo of nearly 6,000 cattle, sent a distress call from the west of Amami Oshima island in southwestern Japan on Wednesday as Typhoon Maysak lashed the area with strong winds and heavy seas.
Japan’s Shinzo Abe on Friday said he was resigning because of poor health, ending a tenure as the country’s longest-serving prime minister in which he sought to revive an economy stricken by deflation and push for a stronger military. His abrupt departure triggers a leadership battle in his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) over the next few weeks. The winner will likely stick to Abe’s reflationary “Abenomics” policies.
Bells tolled in Hiroshima on Thursday for the 75th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing, with ceremonies downsized due to the coronavirus and the city’s mayor urging nations to reject selfish nationalism and unite to fight all threats. At 8:15 a.m. on Aug 6, 1945, U.S. B-29 warplane Enola Gay dropped a bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” and obliterated the city with an estimated population of 350,000.
Torrential rain hit Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu on Monday, with at least one more river bursting its banks, as the death toll from three days of floods and mudslides rose to 44, including 14 at an old people’s home. Evacuation orders were issued for more than half a million island residents, as well as evacuation advisories for tens of thousands more in western Japan, broadcaster NHK said.
Police in Japan have arrested the man suspected of carrying out an arson attack last year that killed 36 people, after officers waited 10 months for him to be treated for serious burns. Shinji Aoba was arrested on murder and arson charges over the attack on the Kyoto Animation studio in western Japan, which sparked an outpouring of grief from anime fans around the world.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moved to declare a state of emergency in seven prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka, and announced a record economic stimulus package. “I want to make clear once again that even if an emergency is declared, we will not impose a lockdown as has been done overseas. It is the opinion of our experts that that isn’t necessary,” Abe told reporters.
Japanese police have named the man suspected of carrying out a deadly arson attack on an animation studio. The fire swept through Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) on Thursday, claiming at least 33 lives and injuring many in one of Japan’s worst mass killings in years. Shinji Aoba is in police custody in hospital and is being treated for burns before he can be questioned.
At least two victims are dead, including an 11-year-old girl, and about 17 others were injured in a mass stabbing attack near Tokyo, Tuesday morning. Japanese broadcaster NHK quoted officials who said a knife-wielding man attacked a group of elementary school children as they were boarding a school bus at about 7:45 a.m. local time in the city of Kawasaki. The suspect reportedly stabbed himself in the neck before he was detained. He has since died from his injuries, according to the broadcaster. The motive for the attack is unknown.