Fumio Kishida has been officially elected the new prime minister of Japan by both houses of parliament. The former foreign minister will replace Yoshihide Suga and will be the 100th head of the Japanese government. His cabinet members are to be announced later in the day.
Fumio Kishida, 64, was elected chairman of the country’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) last Wednesday. On Monday, his candidacy was formally accepted by two houses of parliament. The new prime minister will face the challenge of rebuilding the Japanese economy, battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the first tasks of the new prime minister and president of the PLD will be to call a general election, which should be held by November 28. Most likely, the new head of government will decide to hold the elections on October 31. According to experts, Kishida’s victory is unlikely to bring any fundamental changes to Japanese politics.
Fumio Kishida is the new Prime Minister of Japan
Four candidates were competing for the position of the chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party and the head of government after Yoshihide Suga announced in early September, only after a year in office, that he would not run for re-election. Ultraconservative former interior minister Sanae Takaichi, a representative of the shrinking liberal wing of the Seiko Noda party, former US-educated minister of defense and foreign affairs Taro Kono and the ultimate winner of the rivalry Fumio Kishida, faced the competition.
The perceived “individualist, driven by popular popularity” Kono and “having a rather bland image but with strong support from members of the” Kishida “party entered the second round of internal party elections. The latter won by a vote of 257 to 170.
Candidates clashed on economic issues related to the future policy towards assertive China, as well as cultural issues related to legal changes allowing same-sex marriage. Kono emphasized the issue of renewable energy, of which he advocated, and the need to remove bureaucratic obstacles to business.
Main photo source: Du Xiaoyi / EPA / PAP