Newsman: Japan’s parliament elected A former foreign minister of Japan Fumio Kishida as Japan’s new prime minister in a parliamentary vote Monday. . Kishida and his new Cabinet were sworn in at a palace ceremony later in the day. He replaces Yoshihide Suga, who resigned after only one year in office as his support plunged over his government’s handling of the pandemic and insistence on holding the Tokyo Olympics as the virus spread.
Fumio Kishida said last week that his top priority would be the economy. Kishida’s “new capitalism” is largely a continuation of Abe’s economic policies. He aims to raise income of more people and create a cycle of growth and distribution. Kishida, 64 used to be known as a dovish moderate but turned hawkish apparently to win over influential conservatives in the Liberal Democratic Party.
Kishida won by a comfortable margin against Yukio Edano, head of the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan as his party and its coalition partner holding a majority in both houses.
Kishida is expected to make his policy speech in Parliament on Friday but is looking to dissolve the lower house to hold elections on Oct. 31, Japanese media reported. Observers see the early date as a move to take advantage of the fresh image of his party and Cabinet to rally support.
Kishida appointing 46-year-old Takayuki Kobayashi tackling economic dimensions of Japan’s national security, who is relatively new to parliament;.
Finance Minister Taro Aso will move to a top party post and be replaced by his 68-year-old relative, Shunichi Suzuki.
Kishida will replace all but two of 20 Cabinet posts under Suga and 13 are being appointed to ministerial posts for the first time, Japanese media reported. Most of the posts went to powerful factions that voted for Kishida in the party election. Only three women are reportedly included, up from two in Suga’s government.
Veteran female lawmaker Seiko Noda, one of four candidates who vied for the party leadership race, is expected to be the minister in charge of declining birthrate and local revitalization. Another woman, Noriko Horiuchi, will become vaccinations minister, replacing Taro Kono, the runner-up in the party leadership race.
Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, who is Abe’s younger brother, are to be retained, ensuring continuity of Japan’s diplomacy and security policies as the country seeks to closely work with Washington under the bilateral security pact in the face of China’s rise and growing tensions in the region, including around Taiwan.
Kishida supports stronger Japan-U.S. security ties and partnerships with other like-minded democracies in Asia, Europe and Britain, in part to counter China and nuclear-armed North Korea.
A third-generation politician, Kishida was first elected to Parliament in 1993 representing Hiroshima and is an advocate for nuclear disarmament. He escorted former President Barack Obama during his 2016 visit to the city that, along with Nagasaki, was destroyed in U.S. atomic bombings in the closing days of World War II.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday sent a letter to Kishida, congratulating his election as prime minister and offering to work together to improve ties. In the letter, Moon said South Korea wants to strengthen cooperation on economy, culture, personnel exchanges and other sectors, Moon’s Kishida said.