The emergence of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as the all-but-certain next Prime Minister of Japan is good news for Japan’s pro-IR community.
However, even with a solid friend in the Kantei, there’s plenty of reason to believe that the government is about to hit the brakes.
On the one hand, if Shinzo Abe had to go, having Suga as his replacement is the best outcome for those who advocate IR development in Japan. Suga has been Abe’s right-hand man for almost eight years and has personally overseen a significant portion of the government policymaking on the issue.
Were another one of the viable ruling party candidates to have come out on top, they all would have been generally favorably disposed to IR development, but none of them would have had the same “skin in the game” that Suga does.
Moreover, it is widely believed, though the direct public evidence is lacking, that it was Suga who pushed Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi into the IR race at considerable expense to her own political reputation within the local community. Suga is a Kanagawa-based lawmaker and appears to strongly desire that his local area should host one of the first IRs in the nation.
As Prime Minister, however, he is going to have to balance his own pro-IR inclination against a number of sobering political and practical factors that all argue for him to delay the development timeline.
Source: Asia Gaming Brief