Portrait of the new LDP President of Japan Fumio Kishida

Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida excellently overcame 3 other candidates to win the race for the chair of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chair, after two rounds of LDP voting took place in the afternoon. 9/29.

This event makes Mr. Kishida almost certain to become the 100th prime minister of Japan, replacing Mr. Suga Yoshihide, because the ruling coalition is holding an overwhelming majority in the lower house. As expected, the House of Representatives of Japan will hold an extraordinary session on October 4 to vote on a new prime minister.

Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida after being elected as the new Chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in Tokyo September 29, 2021. Photo: AFP
Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida after being elected as the new Chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in Tokyo September 29, 2021. Photo: AFP

Mr. Kishida, 64 years old, was born in Hiroshima Prefecture into a family with a strong political background, his father and grandfather were both MPs. After graduating from Waseda University in 1982, Mr. Kishida worked at the Japan Long Term Credit Bank (now defunct) and later, as a secretary to a member of parliament since 1987. In 1993, He was elected to the lower house for the first time.

In the period 1999-2011, Mr. Kishida held many important positions in the cabinet and the ruling party, including the position of Secretary of State in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories in 2007, Minister in charge of public affairs. in 2008 and Chairman of the LDP's Parliamentary Affairs Committee in 2011.

In 2012, he was appointed Foreign Minister under the administration of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and held the position until August 2017. During his time in this position, he visited Vietnam at the end of July 2014. On the other hand, he also held the position of acting Defense Minister for a short time from the end of July 2017 to the beginning of August 2017. After leaving the cabinet in 2017, Mr. Kishida served as Chairman of the Policy Research Council - the LDP's top policy-making body.

Mr. Kishida was once seen as a likely successor to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who resigned last September. However, he lost to Prime Minister Suga in the race for the chair of the LDP at that time. In this second election, he won convincingly against the remaining 3 candidates to become the new leader of the LDP.

Mr. Kishida comes from the Kochikai faction - one of the moderate factions in the LDP - and is said to be unenthusiastic about amending the Japanese Constitution. Mr. Kishida's key economic policy is a "Linghe-era version" of his plan to double incomes for middle-income earners. This is a plan that was carried out in the 1960s under the government of former Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda.

During the last election campaign, while praising the fruits of Abenomics economic policies introduced by former Prime Minister Abe and pledging to maintain them, Mr. Kishida also attributed the benefits. from Abenomics is focusing on certain companies, thereby increasing inequality. Thus, he advocates "new Japanese-style capitalism," moving away from policies based on neoliberalism to policies that prioritize more equitable distribution. To strengthen income distribution among middle-income earners, Mr. Kishida pledged to promote housing and education cost assistance for households with young children. In addition, he also called for the need to draft an economic stimulus package worth "tens of trillions of yen" to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, he said that Japan needs to maintain super low interest rates to support the economy that is struggling because of the epidemic, and at the same time advocates suspending the implementation of the government's goal of bringing the basic budget balance to a halt. The country will return to surplus in fiscal 2025.

Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (centre) after being elected as the new chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in Tokyo September 29, 2021. Photo: Kyodo
Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (centre) after being elected as the new chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in Tokyo September 29, 2021. Photo: Kyodo

Regarding the response to COVID-19, Mr. Kishida called for the establishment of a health crisis management agency to act as a command post, and emphasized the cooperation of the people in the fight against the epidemic. this disease. He also said he would create an environment to prevent the collapse of the health system and aim to "restore socio-economic activities to near normal levels as soon as possible". In addition, he emphasized the need to "seriously consider the Japanese-style blockade system, which has a combination of vaccination certificates and certification of negative test results for SARS-CoV-2 virus." .

Regarding foreign affairs and security, Kishida affirmed that he considers the Japan-US alliance as the foundation for dealing with security challenges as well as in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. In addition, he also called for cooperation with countries that share many common values. He dismissed concerns that the US and China could fall into a Cold War.

In relations with China, Kishida acknowledged the importance of maintaining good economic ties between the two countries, but also insisted that Tokyo needs to uphold its principles. "China is one of our neighbors and there are many people-to-people exchanges between the two countries," the politician said. Currently, "China is our number one trading partner, and Japan is China's second." However, he also noted the situation in the disputed Senkaku Islands (which China also claims and calls the Diaoyu), as well as developments in the East and South China Seas.

Regarding territorial and maritime issues, Kishida stressed that it is important to review and possibly amend the laws governing interoperability between the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) Japan Coast Guard (JCG, ie Japanese Coast Guard). "We must try to ensure maritime safety through measures such as strengthening the coast guard's capabilities and allowing them to coordinate with the SDF," he stressed.

Referring to Japan-North Korea relations, Mr. Kishida left open the possibility of meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un directly or in a multilateral framework on the basis of considering the US position.

Mr. Kishida also did not rule out the possibility that Japan possesses the ability to attack enemy bases. Speaking at a press conference on September 13, Kishida said, "I will work to strengthen (Japan's) defense capacity at a time when the missile capabilities of neighboring countries are increasing." and Japan's possession of the ability to attack enemy bases is "an important option". In addition, Kishida also said that it would not be necessary to strive to keep defense spending below 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) if more spending is needed to protect the Japanese people.

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