Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is set to replace outgoing party leader Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down after serving only one year. Kishida won the governing party’s leadership election last week.
As new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, Kishida is certain to be elected the next prime minister on Monday in parliament, where his party and its coalition partner control both houses.
“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 stimulus package by the end of the year,” Kishida said in his acceptance speech.
Who is Fumio Kishida?
Set to become Japan’s 100th Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida was Suga’s competitor for office in 2020.
The 64-year-old followed the footsteps of his father and grandfather to make his political debut in 1993. He first served as policy chief of the Liberal Democratic Party and later as foreign minister between 2012-17.
Kishida is known to be a moderate-liberal politician. He has long been in support of banning nuclear weapons.
He defeated popular vaccinations minister Taro Kono in a runoff after finishing only one vote ahead of him in the first round, in which none of the four candidates, including two women, was able to win a majority.
In a landslide 257-170 victory in the second round, Kishida received support from party heavyweights who apparently chose stability over change advocated by Kono, who is known as something of a maverick and a reformist.
“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.
During a special session of parliament on Monday, the next prime minister will be elected.
With inputs from the Associated Press