FILE PHOTO: Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary and lawmaker for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), during a press conference to announce his candidacy for the party leadership elections in Tokyo, Japan. September 2, 2020. . / Issei Kato (Issei Kato /)

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO, Sept 7 (.) – Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga has hinted at the possibility of holding an early election if he becomes the country’s next prime minister, the Asahi newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Suga, the top candidate to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also highlighted Japan’s determination to hold the Tokyo Olympics next year despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

« We would like to contain the pandemic and make this happen, » Suga said in an interview with Asahi. « There are several extraordinary merits for Japan to host the Games. »

Suga also told the outlet that the opinions of pandemic experts are important in judging whether COVID-19 is slowing down enough for the next prime minister to call snap elections.

« There is no change in my stance as chief cabinet secretary that what the people of the government want most is to focus on measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, » Suga said.

« But the prime minister has the right to dissolve parliament (and call early elections). If the next prime minister decides to call them, it should happen. If not, it won’t happen, » he said.

Suga is expected to win the election for the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on September 14, a date set after Abe’s decision to resign last month. The winner is practically certain that he will become prime minister thanks to the parliamentary majority of the PLD.

(Edited in Spanish by Rodrigo Charme)