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Japan after Abe

Suga elected prime minister, opening new chapter for Japan

Abe's right-hand man sets out to chart his own course

Japan's newly elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stands in the lower house of parliament in Tokyo on Sept. 16.

TOKYO -- Yoshihide Suga was elected Japan's prime minister in a parliamentary vote on Wednesday, marking a new chapter in the nation's politics after a record seven years and eight months under Shinzo Abe.

Suga, 71, will confront the immediate challenges of keeping COVID-19 under control, jump-starting the economy and paving the way for Tokyo to host the delayed Olympics next year. His selection after years as Abe's right-hand man is seen as a move to ensure a smooth transition of power and avoid a policy vacuum in the middle of the pandemic crisis.

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