Japan Chooses Its New Prime Minister
The LDP, Japan's ruling party, elects Japan's next Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida.
Winning Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) majority vote, former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is set to become Japan’s new Prime Minister.
In his acceptance speech, Kishida reiterated his plans to lead a transformed party in the upcoming general election, with a full focus on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic which is exhausting Japan's economy.
The former Foreign Minister, who enjoys moderate public support, surprisingly defeated former Defense Minister Taro Kono, who is considered a powerful figure and a favorable candidate.
Kishida is stepping in to fill the position left vacant by previous PM Yoshihide Suga, whose unpopularity and mishandling of the pandemic led him to relinquish all hopes of re-electing him as party leader after only one year in office.
The Japanese general elections are due on November 28.
Who is Fumio Kishida?
Fumio Kishida served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for five years (2012-2017).
He is an ardent activist for global nuclear disarmament, and he notably contributed to Barack Obama's visit to Hiroshima in 2016, the first visit by a US president, while in office, to the city that was destroyed by an American atomic bomb in 1945.
On the economic front, the former banker promised a new fiscal stimulus plan to speed up recovery after the coronavirus pandemic and demonstrated his desire to reduce social inequalities.
Kishida’s economic policy seems focused on the need to distribute more wealth to households. His approach comes in stark contrast to former PM Shinzo Abe’s economic policies, dubbed “Abenomics”, which focused on boosting corporate profits with the hope of its benefits trickling down on workers and wage-earners.
However, he appears more cautious on social issues, stating that he "has not reached the point of accepting same-sex marriage", which is not legal in Japan.
Kishida lived several years of his childhood with his family in New York and says he was a victim of racism at school, an experience he describes as difficult, yet one that gave him a penchant for justice and fairness.