November 28, 2021

In Japan, Fumio Kishida takes the head of a government far from the expectations of the population

Fumio Kishida took the lead, Monday, October 4, of the 100e government of Japan, with the legislative elections scheduled for October 31 in their sights. This arrival comes against the backdrop of a deep disconnection between the population and the political elites, aggravated by a contested management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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During his first press conference, the new head of government promised to build, “With the population, a new era” characterized by “A new economy, a new daily life”. He said he was ready to “Study direct aid” people most affected by the pandemic and would like to see a system in place “Reactive” crisis management system, making it possible to respond to problems such as SARS-CoV-2.

Mr. Kishida intervened after a final protocol ceremony at the imperial palace having validated his appointment. His predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, had resigned earlier today, ending a term of just over a year. The Parliament, meeting in extraordinary session, validated the choice of Mr. Kishida, five days after his election at the head of the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), in power.

Reflection of rivalries within the PLD

During his campaign, the new Japanese leader had deplored a “Democracy in crisis”, because of a “Eroded confidence in politics”. He also pleaded for a “New Japanese-style capitalism”, consisting of a virtuous circle of growth and redistribution.

However, it is difficult to imagine his government seducing the Japanese, who aspire to a real policy to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, a strengthening of the health system – which has shown its limits during the peaks of contamination – and an improvement in the lot. people in precarious situations, mainly young people, single mothers and the elderly.

The new Japanese cabinet appears more as a reflection of rivalries within the PLD than as a team meeting the expectations of the population. Coming from the moderate fringe of the party, Mr. Kishida could see his room for maneuver constrained by a cabinet made up of several close to the former nationalist prime minister Shinzo Abe (2006-2007 and 2012-2020) and his former vice-premier Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso. These two heavyweights of the formation played a decisive role in the election of Mr. Kishida.

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The general secretariat of the government returns to Hirokazu Matsuno, known for his historical negationism. This close friend of Mr. Abe denies the crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Carrying the same ideas, Koichi Hagiuda leaves for his part the ministry of education for that of the economy. Taro Aso places one of his dolphins in the Ministry of Finance. Toshimitsu Motegi remains Minister of Foreign Affairs and Nobuo Kishi, Mr Abe’s younger brother, retains the defense portfolio.

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