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Will Japan’s China policy change under Kishida’s leadership?

19 7 1

For the first time in the Liberal Democratic Party’s history two female candidates ran for its top leadership position. Also, more than 90 younger parliamentarians requested drastic reform within the party.

After two weeks of media frenzy, however, the LDP’s presidential election ended up as if it were a foregone conclusion for many in Tokyo.

Some may wonder why Fumio Kishida was elected or why Taro Kono, the most popular candidate among the public, failed to win. Will Prime Minister Kishida, a former foreign minister, follow in the footsteps of the Shinzo Abe and the Yoshihide Suga administrations’ foreign policy, or will he pursue his own?

Stability vs. reform

Putting aside all the analyses about each candidate’s campaign tactics or political gaffes, the election result was crystal clear. The majority of the LDP parliamentarians preferred stability and continuity to reform and rejuvenation of the party at the end of the day.

On Sept. 3, when Prime Minister Suga announced that he would not seek re-election, the LDP’s approval rating was so low that junior LDP parliamentarians appeared to prefer Kono to Kishida because the former was considered more electable ahead of the upcoming Lower House election in November.

Ironically, the four-candidate presidential race gave a boost to the LDP’s approval rating and by Sept. 29, the election day, many of those junior lawmakers grew confident that the party could prevail in November, even with Kishida. In a sense, the LDP should thank Suga for saving the party by not running for re-election.

A third Abe Cabinet?

Several Kishida critics........

© The Japan Times

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