World News

Fumio Kishida becomes Japan’s prime minister

Fumio Kishida, the new leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was formally elected as the country’s 100th prime minister in a parliamentary session on Monday. Kishida won the race to lead the party on September 29, replacing Yoshihide Suga, who decided to step down after just one year in office. He easily won a vote Monday in parliament’s lower house, where the LDP’s ruling coalition holds a commanding majority, taking 311 votes to the 124 for opposition leader Yukio Edano.

“This chamber names Mr. Fumio Kishida as the prime minister,” lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima declared after the vote. The upper house will also vote but the lower house holds sway on the decision. The upper house also approved him in a vote shortly afterwards. Both Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi will retain their jobs, local media reported.

Motegi is a Harvard-educated political veteran who has taken the lead in negotiating key trade deals, while Kishi is the brother of former prime minister Shinzo Abe. The finance portfolio will go to Shunichi Suzuki, who is replacing his own brother-in-law Taro Aso.

Suzuki, 68, is also a veteran politician and the son of a former prime minister. He has served in government before, holding both the Olympic minister and environment minister posts.

The cabinet will reportedly include three women, among them his one-time rival for the leadership Seiko Noda, who will become minister in charge of addressing Japan’s declining birthrate.
Suga’s government saw its approval ratings slump as it struggled to tackle waves of infection, including a record virus spike over the summer while the Olympics were being held.

Kishida’s leadership campaign emphasised his plans to correct government missteps on the pandemic, including a pledge to unleash new economic stimulus.

Much of Japan has been under virus emergency measures for a large part of the year, with the restrictions finally lifting last week as new infections decline. Around 60 percent of the population is now vaccinated, but there are concerns that the country’s healthcare system could easily become overwhelmed again in a new virus wave.

Source: eNCA

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