Japanese premier number 100. Hereditary politician became the new head of Govt.


Election of the prime minister in the Japanese parliament is a ritual honed for decades, in which all the details were developed at the beginning of the last century. The deputies write the name of their chosen one by hand on the paper ballot, fold it in a certain way and, under mutual obeisances, line up in a live queue at the ballot box. This lacquered black box is set in place of the tribune for speeches, and the members of the lower house move towards it in a clockwise direction, and the deputies of the upper house – vice versa.

A supporter of moderation and compromise

Fans of Japanese politics today, in essence, had only to monitor the correctness of the performance of these ceremonies, since there was no real intrigue in the parliamentary vote: it was known in advance that its winner and the 100th prime minister in the history of the country would become64-year-old former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who has just passed a much more difficult test. On September 29, he managed to win an incomparably more dramatic election for the chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan, which has a stable majority in parliament. Kishida’s rival was the extremely ambitious, sharp-tongued and harsh minister for vaccination, 58-year-old Taro Kono, who also previously served as foreign minister and defense minister. According to opinion polls, he was far ahead of all contenders for the top post in the party in terms of support both among ordinary voters and among ordinary members of the LDP.

However, the elections for the leader of the ruling party in Japan are peculiar: in them 380 deputies of parliament from the LDP and representatives of its regional organizations, uniting 1.1 million people, have the same number of votes. In the first round, as expected, no one managed to get a majority, and in the second the situation changed even more. All the same 380 deputies from the ruling party and only 47 electors from its local organizations voted – one from each prefecture of the country. And here Kishida won with a crushing score, although, we repeat, he was much inferior to his rival Kono in popularity among ordinary party members.

However, he was unconditionally supported by the party nomenclature and the Liberal Democrats in parliament, who opted for the predictability of the new leader. The fact is that Kishida is a classic centrist in the conservative camp, a supporter of moderation and compromise, who has managed to establish strong trusting relationships with almost all heavyweights in the LDP. His biography and political path seem to be copied from a work examining the typical career of a successful Liberal Democrat.

Elite family

The new prime minister was born into a family of elite professional politici-ans – his grandfather beca-me a member of parliament even before the outbreak of World War II and retained this post after the defeat of Japan. My father was one of the leaders of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry, the headquarters of the post-war Japanese economic revival, and then, like many high-ranking bureaucrats, was also elected to parliament from the LDP. The homeland of the Kishida clan is Hiroshima, where the polling station of the new prime minister is located, which had some impact on his political activities. By the way, several relatives of the winner of the election were irradiated as a result of the American atomic bombing in August 1945.

After graduating from high school, Kishida failed three times in exams at the country’s most prestigious University of Tokyo, but then still graduated from the law faculty of one of the best Japanese private universities, Waseda. He worked for five years in a large bank, dealt with the problems of bankruptcy and lending, in order, as they say, to get to know life better. However, then, in accordance with the canons of the Liberal Democrats, he became secretary to his father, a parliamentarian, plunging into the behind-the-scenes affairs of conservative politics. In 1993, he was first elected to the key lower house of parliament from Hiroshima and gradually began to gradually gain more and more important posts in the cabinets of ministers formed by the Liberal Democrats.

Prior to his current election to the post of prime minister, the peak of his career was the chair of the foreign minister, which he held from 2012 to 2017 – the longest in post-war Japanese history. After that, Kishida became the head of the Political Council of the ruling party, then left him and began to prepare for a breakthrough to the post of prime minister.

The main goal is general elections

Kishida is said to have almost no political enemies. Many people like that the new leader is inclined to listen to partners, avoids harsh statements and offensive remarks. At the same time, Japanese journalists state that Kishida is devoid of political brilliance and charisma, he is not distinguished by a sense of humor, his speeches are correct and boring.

As a native of Hiroshima, the new leader is considered a supporter of pacifism and nuclear disarmament, he supports the course of his party to revise the post-war constitution, but believes that there is no need to rush into a complete revision of its anti-war provisions. Along with the actively declared peacefulness, Kishida, as expected, advocates strengthening the strategic alliance with the United States and Japan’s defense potential, but is cautious about the demands of party hawks to immediately start equipping the country’s armed forces, for example, with nuclear submarines. According to Japanese experts, the new prime minister will strive for equal relations with Russia, but he is unlikely to take active initiatives in this direction, since he does not see prospects for a quick solution to the issue of the southern part of the Kuriles and the conclusion of a peace treaty.

Kishida was once called one of the most attractive men among Japanese parliamentarians. To soak up his boring look, he carefully cultivates a reputation for drinking and drinking. In one of the contests, he won an award as the most elegant politician wearing glasses. He is married and has three sons. At home, he is said to have taken on the responsibility of washing the dishes and keeping the bathroom clean.

In the meantime, the main concern of the new prime minister will be the successful holding of general elections to the key lower house of parliament, which are to be held on October 31. The situation for the ruling party is still going well: vaccination against coronavirus in Japan is going well, the number of infections and deaths is decreasing, the emergency regime has been canceled. This boosts voters’ optimism, which is believed to give the LDP a good electoral chance.

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