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Japan's parliament elects Yoshihide Suga prime minister

Japan's parliament elected Yoshihide Suga, the longtime right-hand man to outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as the country's new prime minister Wednesday. Suga, 71, was Abe's Cabinet secretary during his record-setting tenure in office. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party selected him party leader Monday, all but ensuring his elevation to prime minister. The lower house of parliament ratified the choice with 314 votes out of 462 cast. Abe, 65, resigned for health reasons and said he will support Suga's government as a lawmaker.

Suga has listed battling the COVID-19 pandemic and turning around a coronavirus-battered economy as his first priorities, and he will also seek to finish Abe's unfinished reforms. He is expected to retain about half of Abe's Cabinet ministers.