On Monday, Suga was voted in as the new leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), securing about 70% of the votes, paving the way for the 71-year-old to become Prime Minister in a parliamentary vote later this week. Former foreign minister Fumio Kishida and former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba were the other two candidates running.
Japan is not a presidential system -- the country's leader is chosen by parliamentarians, and the national legislature will formally select the Prime Minister on Wednesday. Suga and Abe's careers have been tied for nearly a decade since the latter became Prime Minister in 2012. Abe went on to become the country's longest-serving leader since the end of World War II.