PM Kishida of Japan announces a general election for October 31
Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
The new Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, immediately announced a general election for October 31. This is a wise move because Kishida hopes to gain from a popular bounce effect. Also, the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis is currently witnessing very low daily infections, compared with the first nine months of this year.
It seems pragmatic for Kishida to gain from both factors. Hence, no point for Kishida to risk mistakes during the early period of his leadership – and no point to witness a possible fresh uptake of daily coronavirus cases.
Naturally, given the influence of two former leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), allies of Shinzo Abe and Taro Aso have been promoted to senior cabinet positions. Indeed, the outgoing Finance Minister Aso will be replaced by his brother-in-law Shunichi Suzuki. Therefore, continuity, factional politics, and family political connections will continue to play an important role within the new Kishida cabinet as usual.
NHK reports, “Kishida says he will create a new form of capitalism to achieve a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution. He says his economic policies will ensure more equitable distribution of wealth.”
Reuters reports, “Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, who is Abe’s brother, retained his position, as did Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, reflecting Kishida’s intention to continue Abe and Suga’s push to boost the nation’s defences and strengthen security ties with the United States and other partners including the QUAD grouping – which includes India and Australia as well as Japan and the United States – while preserving trade ties with China.”
Concerning the coronavirus crisis, Kishida said, “Many people are worried that even though the situation has now improved, the number of infections could rise again and, if there is a rebound, whether the hospitals would be able to handle it.”
Lee Jay Walker says, “Thus Kishida is making it known that he is contemplating coronavirus relief payouts – while also focusing on strengthening the health care system and other areas concerning the ongoing crisis.”
It seems inconceivable that Kishida won’t win the general election. However, given the unpopularity of former leader Yoshihide Suga, doubts remain about the margin of victory for the ruling party and its main political ally.
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