Promoted to colonel in 1935, Suzuki commanded the 4th Infantry Regiment. In 1937, he simultaneously became chief of the 2nd Section in the Department of Military Education and a staff member in the Supreme Headquarters. Promoted to major general in 1938, he served as the Central China Area Army vice chief of staff in 1938 and 1939 and as the China Expeditionary Army vice chief of staff in 1939 and 1940. In 1940, he took over as chief of the 3rd Division (transportation and communication) of the General Staff.
Promoted to lieutenant general in 1941, at the beginning of the Pacific war Suzuki was chief of staff of the Twenty-Fifth Army, assisting army commander Lieutenant General Yamashita Tomoyuki in executing the seizure of the Malay Peninsula and Singapore from December 1941 to February 1942. Now assigned to the Department of Weaponry, he took office as the chief of the Department of Transportation and then commander of the Shipping Headquarters in 1943.
In July 1944, Suzuki became commander of the new Thirty-Fifth Army with the mission of defending the vast area of the central and southern Philippines. He had only one division on Leyte Island in the central Philippines when U.S. forces landed there in October 1944. Suzuki moved with his headquarters from Cebu City to Leyte, concentrated his military assets as much as he could, and endeavored to drive back the U.S. forces. Given overwhelming U.S. command of the air and the sea, this proved impossible, and most Japanese forces on Leyte were destroyed.
Committing most of his men to the defense of Mindanao, Suzuki returned to Cebu in late March 1945, but he left there for Mindanao by small boat in early April. He was killed in the Mindanao Sea during a U.S. air attack on 19 April. Suzuki was posthumously promoted to full general.
Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Vol. 5, The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942–February 1943. Boston: Little, Brown, 1949.; Smith, Robert Ross. The United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific: The Approach to the Philippines. Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1953.