The expected victory in the party vote by Suga, now the chief Cabinet secretary of Abe's government, all but guarantees his election in a parliamentary vote Wednesday because of the majority held by the Liberal Democrats' ruling coalition.
Suga received 377 votes in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party election to pick a successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced last month that he would resign due to health problems.
According to reports, the PM announced his plan of resignation at an emergency meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. He repeatedly has noted achievements under the Abe-led government when asked about various policies.
Yoshihide Suga, who is set to become Japan's next prime minister, is considering appointing health minister Katsunobu Kato as Chief Cabinet Secretary while retaining others in key cabinet posts, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday. His current period in office began in 2012.
Suga, Abe's chief Cabinet secretary, is set to be named prime minister in an extraordinary Diet session on Wednesday, after which he will form a Cabinet to carry out his policies focusing on administrative reforms as well as fighting the coronavirus pandemic while promoting the economy.
Land minister Kazuyoshi Akaba, who belongs to the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito, and Olympics and Paralympics minister Seiko Hashimoto will also be retained in the new cabinet, the sources said. He went to Tokyo where he became a successful politician.
But since announcing his candidacy at the end of August, he has undergone a modest image change, from inscrutable political enforcer whose most memorable public act to date was announcing the name of the new Reiwa era past year, to the closest Japan's dominant conservative party has to the man on the Tokyo omnibus.
As chief cabinet secretary for nearly eight years, Suga has acted as the administration's de facto second-in-command, batting away tricky questions at twice-daily press briefings, advising Abe on policy and reining in Japan's recalcitrant bureaucracy.
As his parents' eldest son, Suga defied tradition by deciding not to take over the family farm. He has also said that he supports regional efforts against China's growing military power.
"I will devote the whole of myself to Japan and the Japanese people".
Compared to his political prowess at home, Suga has hardly traveled overseas, and his diplomatic skills are unknown, though he is largely expected to pursue Abe's priorities. He said he wanted to solve the issue of Japanese nationals captured by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s. And he will have to build a relationship with whoever wins the USA presidential race.
While he is well known in Japan, Suga has rarely traveled internationally.
A man of self-discipline, his daily routine includes sit-ups and walking - in his business suits in the neighborhood of the parliament so he can immediately head to work in an emergency.