Yoshihide Suga spent nearly eight years as Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary and is expected to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote on Wednesday [Nicolas Datiche/Pool via Reuters]

As Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga spent nearly eight years as the right-hand man to outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

Now, as Suga prepares to take the country’s top job in an all-but-guaranteed parliamentary vote on Wednesday, he will need to capitalise on his political deal-making skills and his inside knowledge of Japan’s complex bureaucracy to help him address the country’s formidable challenges.

“Nobody has had as long a tenure as Suga,” Kiyoaki Aburaki, managing director of BowerGroup Asia in Tokyo, told Al Jazeera. “He knows everything. He knows how government works. He knows

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