The name of the future Japanese prime minister is now known. Fumio Kishida was chosen Wednesday, September 29 to lead the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD, conservative right), in power in Japan. He is thus assured of becoming the next chief executive. A vote in parliament is due to take place on October 4.
Kishida, a 64-year-old former foreign minister, obtained 257 votes in the second round of an internal vote in the PLD, against 170 votes for his rival, Taro Kono, 58, the “Mr. Vaccination” of the outgoing government and one of the archipelago’s most famous political figures.
The current Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, unpopular after a year at the head of the country, had decided not to stand for this election of the PLD, which has dominated Japanese political life since 1955.
Fumio Kishida, foreign minister from 2012 to 2017, had promised to strengthen the economic stimulus measures linked to the pandemic if he was elected. During his campaign, he sought to capitalize on public discontent with the handling of the health crisis, which caused the Suga government’s popularity to drop. He highlighted his listening skills and invited the Japanese to share their requests and ideas with him.
It will face a plethora of challenges, from driving a post-pandemic economic recovery to threats posed by North Korea and China. Mr. Kishida’s program did not foresee any radical change in Japan’s foreign, economic or military policy.