The Daily Update: Suga Steps Down / Non-Farm Payrolls

The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has announced that he will not run for re-election as party leader later this month, ending his tenure after just one year, Toshihiro Nikai, his party's secretary general said. 72-year-old Suga announced his intention to resign at an emergency meeting of senior members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Over the last year Suga approval ratings have collapsed over his government's handling of the coronavirus as well as the decision to go ahead with the Olympics.

Suga only came of office last year after the former prime minister Shinzo Abe resigned for health reasons, and the decision to resign has come as something of a shock. ‘Today at the executive meeting, president Suga said he wants to focus his efforts on anti-coronavirus measures and will not run in the leadership election," Mr Nikai said, adding ‘Honestly, I'm surprised. It's truly regrettable. He did his best but after careful consideration, he made this decision’.

Even with his disastrous approval ratings (at an all time low of less than 32%), there was wide expectation that Suga would still be re-elected as LDP leader, as an election must be called by late October. As for successors, Fumio Kishida, the Former Foreign Minister has already thrown his hat into the ring, while Sanae Takaichi, a former minister of internal affairs and communications, has expressed interest in running.

Also today, it’s Friday and the first one of the month, which means we have August Non-farm Payroll numbers. The touch before the figures was for 733k jobs added (although the whisper was lower) an unemployment rate of 5.2% and participation rate of 61.8%.

The actual number of jobs added was indeed closer to the whisper at 235k with the previous month’s figure revised up to 1.053m from 943k. The unemployment rate was on the nose at 5.2 % versus the prior month’s reading of 5.4% and the participation rate fell slightly to 61.7%.