I know there're already many profile pieces on Suga out there, but here is my version: Can behind-the-scenes operator Suga -- who critics say is populist, visionless & ineloquent -- excel as #Japan's new leader? @japantimes
japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/09/1…
Suga seems to like to tout his humble upbringing, but is his rags-to-riches story really all it's cracked up to be? His childhood was nowhere near as underprivileged as the late charismatic PM Kakuei Tanaka, the "people's prime minister"
But one thing that he may have gained from his humble roots is sensitivity to the needs of the general public, gravitating toward populist initiatives all his career -- the latest example being his calls for slashing mobile phone bills
This penchant for populist campaigns may have blinded Suga to the need to map out a grand vision for the nation. There are certain individual policies he has enthused about, "but I don’t think he has done a good job of explaining why those policies are important to #Japan"
Suga has, however, dropped some hints of the national identity he wants to mold #Japan into, as exemplified by his calls for "jijo (self-help)" society, which critics say encapsulates his belief in neoliberalism
Another characteristic of Suga that could attract scrutiny is what some might describe as a lack of eloquence -- his tendency as chief Cabinet secretary to stubbornly read from a script that earned him the title “Teppeki,” or the “Iron Wall”
“The nickname ‘Iron Wall’ may give the impression that his speech is so airtight there is no room for criticism, but in reality, all he does is simply refuse to answer questions”: Isao Mori, Suga's biographer
“I’m very doubtful about his ability as a public speaker. … My biggest concern is whether he can go toe-to-toe with world leaders when he has to engage in off-the-cuff, heated discussions with them.”

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