64-year-old Kishida, who was elected leader
He was officially confirmed as the country’s 100th prime minister after a parliamentary vote by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last week – his promotion was given because of the LDP’s majority in the lower house.
A moderate liberal regarded as a steady hand, Kishida inherits a Japan that has faced rising Covid-19 infections, a stagnant economy, a rapidly aging population and rising tensions. China
Under Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Kishida served as the country’s foreign minister from 2012 to 2017. Shinzo Abe
. He will replace outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who announced earlier this month
He will not run after a turbulent term due to a slump in public support for his party’s leadership election as he struggled to contain the coronavirus.
Analysts say Kishida is seen as a consensus builder, an establishment alternative that represents stability. But the political stalwart was not the popular choice – he received little support from the public and struggled to shake his image as a boring bureaucrat.
His first big test will be the next general election, in which he will be the face of a party that has been criticized for its handling of the pandemic.
“He’s not going to be a TV star. He’s not going to capture the imagination of the average Japanese person. But the Japanese people want stability and security, and I think he’ll be able to provide that,” Keith Henry, said the chairman of political risk and business consulting firm Asia Strategy.
What to expect from Kishida’s administration
Kishida promises a “new capitalism” that includes bridging the income gap and boosting consumer spending. He said that Abe’s eponymous economic policies – known as “Abenomics” – failed to “trick” from the rich to the poor. He has also proposed a massive recovery package worth “several tens of trillions” of yen to lift Japan’s economy out of the pandemic-induced recession.
“There is a deep sense among the Japanese people that the gap between the rich and the disadvantaged, the gap between wealth, wages and opportunity is widening,” Henry said.
Kishida will also take the country’s response to the coronavirus. Japan has vaccinated 60% of its population against COVID-19, and last week the country lifted its state of emergency amid a drop in infections. Social and business restrictions are gradually being eased and Japan loose entry restrictions
for some visitors. But there are concerns that the virus could re-emerge in the winter months.
On foreign policy, Kishida is committed to
“Achieving a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” his predecessor Suga attended the first personal meeting
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as “The Quad”, was an informal strategic forum of the United States, Australia, Japan and India in the US last month.
Kishida is expected to support a strong alliance with the US and other allies, and a key the challenge of balance
Japan’s deep economic ties with China and its concerns about Beijing’s growing military assertiveness in the region. Kishida also faces the increasingly aggressive North Korea.
The new prime minister said he also wants to take action against the country’s falling birth rate, and believes nuclear power should be considered as a clean energy alternative.
Analysts question whether Kishida will be a permanent leader, or whether Japan will return to a period of political instability similar to the pre-Abe era, when Japan was cycling through six prime ministers in six years.
“There are a lot of complicated issues. And he is not the strongest leader in the ruling party of LDP. That’s why I am very concerned about the revolving PM system,” Takeshi Niinami. he said
, economic adviser to former Prime Minister Suga and CEO of Japan’s beverage giant Suntory.