Commentary: The rise of ‘mild-mannered’ Fumio Kishida, Japan’s next prime minister

TOKYO: Fumiko Kishida will become the next prime minister of Japan after winning a dramatic runoff in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership vote this week.He will be Japan’s third prime minister in just over a year, replacing the deeply unpopular Yoshihide Suga, whose fortunes began to fall after he followed Shinzo Abe into the prime minister’s office last September. In a surprise result, Kishida, a former foreign minister, narrowly beat his main rival, Taro Kono, the popular vaccine minister, 256–255 in the first round of voting by party members. The two female candidates, ultra-nationalist Sanae Takaichi and liberal Seiko Noda, meanwhile, were eliminated. In the second round of voting, dominated by the LDP’s members in the Diet (Japan’s parliament), Takaichi’s supporters, with the backing of Abe, threw their weight behind Kishida and secured his election. KISHIDA’S RISE THROUGH THE RANKS The mild-mannered Kishida, 64, comes from a family of parliamentarians — both his grandfather and father were members in the Diet. As a child, Kishida spent three years in New York when his father was posted to the US as a senior trade ministry official, where he attended public school in Queens. After graduating from the prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo, Kishida had a short stint in banking before becoming a member of the House of Representatives in 1993.

Commentary: The rise of ‘mild-mannered’ Fumio Kishida, Japan’s next prime minister

TOKYO: Fumiko Kishida will become the next prime minister of Japan after winning a dramatic runoff in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership vote this week.

He will be Japan’s third prime minister in just over a year, replacing the deeply unpopular Yoshihide Suga, whose fortunes began to fall after he followed Shinzo Abe into the prime minister’s office last September.

In a surprise result, Kishida, a former foreign minister, narrowly beat his main rival, Taro Kono, the popular vaccine minister, 256–255 in the first round of voting by party members. The two female candidates, ultra-nationalist Sanae Takaichi and liberal Seiko Noda, meanwhile, were eliminated.

In the second round of voting, dominated by the LDP’s members in the Diet (Japan’s parliament), Takaichi’s supporters, with the backing of Abe, threw their weight behind Kishida and secured his election.

KISHIDA’S RISE THROUGH THE RANKS

The mild-mannered Kishida, 64, comes from a family of parliamentarians — both his grandfather and father were members in the Diet.

As a child, Kishida spent three years in New York when his father was posted to the US as a senior trade ministry official, where he attended public school in Queens.

After graduating from the prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo, Kishida had a short stint in banking before becoming a member of the House of Representatives in 1993.