Sept. 15 (UPI) — Outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s Cabinet resigned en masse on Wednesday in preparation for a transition of power.
The move signaled the end of Abe’s eight-year tenure leading the country as Yoshihide Suga, the new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, is expected to be formally selected by parliament to serve as the next prime minister Wednesday afternoon.
“I have spent every day putting my all into economic recovery and diplomacy to protect Japan’s interests,” Abe said.
Katsunobu Katu, Abe’s health minister, has been chosen to take over Suga’s role as chief Cabinet secretary and other Cabinet members including Finance Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi are expected to return under Suga.
Upon selecting his own Cabinet, Suga is expected to be selected by the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors to serve as Abe’s successor after he announced his resignation last month due to health issues.
Suga beat out former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba and former foreign minister Fumio Kishida to head the Liberal Democratic Party earlier this week.
At 71, he will be the oldest prime minister to take office since Kiichi Miyazawa in 1991.
He is expected to carry on Abe’s economic policy and will helm a $2.2 trillion effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.