Fumio Kishida, Japan’s former top diplomat, is set to become the country's next prime minister, having won the ruling party leadership election. As per a Wall Street Journal report, Kishida favours a strong alliance with the United States and frowns on China's military expansion.
The soft-spoken Kishida, 64, won a run-off against vaccine minister Taro Kono with 257 votes to 170. Here are some reactions to the news.
Koichi Nakano, Political Science Professor, Sophia University
"We know who will continue to hold power in the LDP - it's (former premier Shinzo) Abe and (Finance Minister Taro) Aso and the right wing. There is no mood for generational change."
"A whole month of monopoly over TV and newspaper coverage in the run-up to the election cannot be bad for the LDP but the underwhelming result will dampen the celebratory mood quickly, possibly. The opposition must be relieved that they don't have to fight against the darling of television (Kono)."
"Kishida's showing was respectable even among the rank and file members, so much so that he came out ahead in the first round, which no one expected."
Jeffrey Hornung, Rand Corporation
"I don't expect any big changes in foreign policy. The changes, where they occur, will likely be on the margins and in terms of style. Kishida will continue to prioritize the alliance and find ways to strengthen it: free and open Indo-Pacific will continue to be a mainstay of Japan's diplomatic toolkit in its outreach to the region; and he will continue to take a hard position against China."
"Taiwan is the biggest question for me. Although there is nothing new policy-wise in terms of Japan's thinking about Taiwan, the importance of Taiwan for Japan's security, or even commitments to assist the U.S. in a Taiwan contingency, the Suga administration has been publicly active in having a conversation about Taiwan. There is an appetite for continuing this approach within the LDP, but it will be interesting to see whether the new leader takes this approach, such as advocating for Taiwan's inclusion in CPTPP (the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership)."
Masaki Kuwahara, Senior Economist at Nomura Securities
"From the standpoint of economic growth, Kono may have been a better choice than Kishida given his focus on reform and renewable energy policy in the medium to long run. Given a fragile economy, there’s not much room for Kishida to deviate from Abenomics though."
"Kishida appears to focus on the distribution of wealth but such left-leaning policy doesn’t necessarily mesh with economic growth. Kishida is good at building consensus though, which will bring stability to politics needed to steer socio-economy."
"As Kishida, or whoever becomes new prime minister, monetary easing remains on track. Kishida is unlikely to exit from the massive monetary stimulus or raise interest rates any time soon as doing so could boost the yen."
(Edited by : Yashi Gupta)
First Published: IST