Japan is getting its 100th Prime Minister after Yoshihide Suga is stepping down after just a year in office. The former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has won the governing party leadership election and is set to become the next prime minister of the Asian economic giant.
Suga proved to be an unpopular choice of Japan’s ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Under him, Japan witnessed its worst-ever Covid wave, and his decision to hold the Olympics only made matters worse.
In his acceptance speech, the 64-year old, soft-spoken leader pledged to implement new measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak that has derailed the country's economy, adding that he would lead a transformed LDP into the general elections scheduled in the coming weeks.
“The LDP leadership election is over. Let us all face the lower house and upper house elections as one,” he said. “Our national crisis continues. We need to keep working hard on the coronavirus response with strong determination, and we need to compile tens of trillions of yen of the stimulus package by the end of the year,” he added.
Fumio Kishida in his party is known as a ‘Consensus Builder’
Kishida was not the popular choice, he lacked behind in the opinion polls, but the leadership contest began, he came back from behind in a rather dramatic fashion.
He defeated his chief rival, the former defense and foreign minister Taro Kono, considered to be a more publicly popular candidate 257-170 in a runoff vote after moving ahead of two female candidates Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda in the first round.
Here are some of Kishida’s Policy positions:
He proposed a spending package of more than 30 trillion yen, adding that Japan likely would not raise a sales tax rate from 10% "for about a decade".
"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," he said on Saturday.
Kishida believes Japan, in cooperation with the United States and other like-minded countries, should stand firm against the growing assertiveness of authoritarian regimes like China.
"In order to protect such universal values as freedom, democracy, rule of law and human rights, we need to say firmly what needs to be said in the face of the expansion of authoritarian regimes like China, while cooperating with countries that share such values," he said this month
ENERGY, CLIMATE CHANGE
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster severely damaged public trust in nuclear energy, but Kishida believes it should remain an energy option to ensure stable and affordable electricity.
"I do think renewable energy is important. But when I think about whether relying solely on renewable energy is good enough, I believe we need to have other options ready, like hydrogen, small nuclear facilities, and nuclear fusion," he recently said.