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Japan’s Ruling Party Has a New Leader

Oct 3, 2021

Japan’s ruling political party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), chose Fumio Kishida as its leader.

That means Mr. Kishida is likely to be named the next prime minister of Japan, filling the position currently held by Yoshihide Suga.

Just a year ago, Mr. Suga took over from long-time prime minister Shinzo Abe. But Mr. Suga’s handling of Japan’s coronavirus crisis and the recent Olympic Games was strongly criticized. On September 3, Mr. Suga announced that he would be stepping down.

That set off a contest for the leadership of the LDP. For the first time ever, two women – Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda – were among the candidates for the leadership position. But they lost in the first round of voting.

Mr. Kishida, who was once Japan’s foreign minister, and Taro Kono, who’s in charge of vaccinations, were the two final candidates. On Wednesday, Mr. Kishida defeated Mr. Kono 257 votes to 170. On Monday, the Diet – Japan’s Parliament – will vote on whether to name Mr. Kishida as prime minister. Since the LDP has a majority in the Diet, Mr. Kishida is expected to become Japan’s next leader. But perhaps not for long. Japan is scheduled to hold new elections on November 28.

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