Kishida thanks Suga for pandemic efforts

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, welcomes his predecessor Yoshihide Suga at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a meeting with his predecessor Yoshihide Suga for the first time since taking office, during which he expressed his gratitude for the pandemic measures compiled by the previous Cabinet, according to Suga.

After the 20-minute meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday, Suga told reporters that Kishida expressed appreciation for the measures implemented during his administration, including the vaccination campaign, which has helped reduce the number of COVID-19 patients.

Suga also told Kishida he would be willing to cooperate in the future.

Kishida reportedly offered to visit the offices of House of Representative lawmakers for a meeting with his predecessor, but Suga said

he would visit the Prime Minister’s Office instead.

In an apparent show of respect, the prime minister met Suga in the lobby when he arrived and saw him off after the meeting.

When Kishida announced his bid to lead the Liberal Democratic Party ahead of the presidential election in September, it created a rift between the two lawmakers. Kishida vowed to promote party reform, which subsequently led to Suga standing aside.

It is thought that the prime minister hoped to heal the rift by personally expressing his gratitude to his predecessor.