Japan’s populist, pragmatic new PM Suga pushes Abe’s vision

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, leaves Sunday on his first overseas foray since taking over from his former boss Shinzo Abe last month, heading to Vietnam and Indonesia. The choice to visit Southeast Asia underscores Japan’s efforts to counter Chinese influence and build stronger economic and defense ties in the region, much in line with Abe’s vision. It also reflects Suga’s very pragmatic approach to carrying out Abe’s legacy after he resigned for health reasons. Suga is best known for his behind-the-scenes, iron-fisted approach to pushing Abe’s agenda. As he emerges from the shadow cast by Abe, Suga is starting to show his claws, but his own vision remains unclear.