Fumio Kishida Elected as Japan’s next Prime Minister

Former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida won the race for head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and is on course to become Japan’s next prime minister.

Kishida won against vaccination minister Taro Kono — a public favorite — during LDP’s leadership vote on Sep. 28, ensuring his succession to former prime minister Yoshihide Suga.

Kishida has long targeted the prime minister seat, winning his second candidacy after losing to Suga in 2020.

Japan’s next prime minister will have to lead LDP to victory in the upcoming general elections in November after the party lost popularity for pushing to host the Tokyo Olympics despite public opposition.

Kishida vowed that his key policies will tackle income inequality — the former foreign minister has been critical of Japan’s growth-oriented policies which he said “lacked trickle-down economics.”

“Fiscal reform is the direction we need to head for eventually, though we won’t try to fill Japan’s deficit with immediate tax hikes,” Kishida said on Sep. 25 as he pushed for more government spending on stimulus.

Kishida also called for the establishment of a “health crisis management agency” that will deal with the COVID-19 crisis, opening the Indo-Pacific to free trade and movement, and tackling Japan’s declining birthrate.

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