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Suga needs to get radical to save Japan

TOKYO – When economists and investors wonder what to expect from Japan’s next leader, they’re not thinking of the front runner in the premiership race that will be decided on Monday, Cabinet Secretary Yoshide Suga. They are really thinking of Haruhiko Kuroda.

The Bank of Japan governor’s presence on the job explains why markets largely took news of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s departure in stride. That’s because “Abenomics” is really “Kurodanomics.” And odds are, it will still be after Monday’s Liberal Democratic Party election.

Suga, 71, spent the last eight years as Abe’s loyal chief cabinet secretary. He’s not known to have strong economic views and promises to continue Abe’s reform program. Since that has largely entailed hiring Kuroda to flood the globe with yen, markets are wondering what to expect next.