Kishida re-elected Japanese prime minister in parliamentary vote


Fumio Kishida (center) bows after being re-elected Prime Minister of Japan to the lower house of parliament on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, in Tokyo. AP PHOTO

TOKYO: Fumio Kishida was re-elected as Prime Minister of Japan on Wednesday after his ruling party won a major victory in key parliamentary elections.

Elected just over a month ago by parliament, Kishida called a quick election in which his ruling party won 261 seats in the 465-member lower house – the most powerful in the two-chamber legislature from Japan – enough to keep a free hand to push through the legislation. parliament.

October 31 victory strengthens his grip on power and is seen as a mandate from voters for his weeks-old government to tackle the pandemic-stricken economy, virus measures and other challenges . Kishida said he viewed the results as a signal that voters chose stability over change.

Later Wednesday, he will form his second cabinet, retaining all the ministers he appointed except one when he took office on October 4, and then set out his economic measures and other key policies at a press conference.

Kishida was chosen by the Liberal Democrats as a safe and conservative choice a month ago. They feared heavy electoral losses if the unpopular Yoshihide Suga remained in power. Suga stepped down after just a year in office as his popularity plunged following criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his insistence on hosting the Tokyo Olympics despite fears of a wave of the virus.

Better than expected election results could give Kishida’s government more power and time to work on campaign promises, including controlling COVID-19, economic revitalization and strengthening Japan’s defense capacity.

Kishida’s grip on power can also be strengthened by changes in his cabinet.

A key political expert from his faction, former Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, will be the new Foreign Minister, while former Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will rise to the ruling party’s No.2 post.

Motegi voted for Kishida in the party leadership race and will replace party heavyweight Akira Amari, who resigned from his post due to his unimpressive election result due to his previous corruption scandal.

Although many of Kishida’s ministers are novices, key positions have gone to influential wings and parties, including those led by former ultra-conservative prime minister Shinzo Abe and former finance minister Taro Aso. .

Kishida promises to create an enhanced growth cycle and better economic distribution to increase income as part of his “new capitalism” economic policy.

Kishida’s immediate post-election task is to compile a massive economic stimulus package of around 30 trillion yen ($ 265 billion) that includes cash payments, to be announced next week. It also aims to pass an additional budget by the end of this year to fund the projects.

At a government meeting on Tuesday, Kishida renewed his pledge to create a positive cycle of growth distribution by boosting investment and income.

Kishida is also expected to outline later this week his pandemic measures ahead of another possible increase in cases, which could affect his support ratings.

As a former foreign minister, Kishida will continue to prioritize the Japan-US security alliance and promote a vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” with other democracies, including including Quad Dialogue members, the United States, Australia and India.

Kishida stressed the importance of a stronger military amid concerns about China’s growing power and influence and North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.

He opposed changes to a law that requires married couples to adopt only one last name, forcing most women to give up their maiden name. Liberal Democrats are widely seen as opposed to gender equality and diversity.

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