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64-Year-Old Fumio Kishida Takes Office As The 100th Prime Minister Of Japan

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, took office on Monday and will be charged with leading the world’s third-largest economy out of the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a CNN news report.

Following a parliamentary vote, Fumio Kishida, 64, who was elected head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last week, was officially recognized as the country’s 100th prime minister — his elevation all but a foregone conclusion given the LDP’s dominance in the lower house. Following the election, Kishida named his new Cabinet, which includes former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s followers. Thirteen of the 20 members have never served in the Cabinet before, three are women, and the average age is 61.

Kishida, a moderate liberal who is seen as a stabilizing authority, inherits a Japan that is surged by rising COVID-19 infections, a stagnant economy, a rapidly aging population, and political unrest with China. From 2012 until 2017, Kishida served as Japan’s foreign minister under Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime leader. He takes over from outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who declared earlier this month that he would not run for re-election as head of his party after a tumultuous term highlighted by a drop in public support as he tried to suppress the coronavirus.

Fumio Kishida Received Applause As He Got Elected As Japan’s New Prime Minister (Photo: Getty Images)

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Fumio Kishida Was Not A Popular Choice

According to analysts, Kishida is considered  a consensus builder and a stable option by the establishment. However, the political veteran was not a popular pick; he received little public support and failed to shed his reputation as a dreary bureaucrat. The upcoming general election will be his first significant test, as he will be the face of a party that has been chastised for its handling of the pandemic under Suga.

Fumio Kishida Planned Undertakings For His Administration

Kishida stated in his first address as prime minister on Monday that implementing effective COVID-19 countermeasures, including vaccinations, intensified testing, and providing support to the country’s health systems, will be his top priority.

Japan has vaccinated 60% of its people against COVID-19, and the country’s state of emergency was lifted last week due to a decrease in infections. Japan has reduced entry restrictions for some foreigners, and social and business constraints are progressively decreasing. However, there are chances that the virus will resurface over the winter months.

Kishida, as planned, set October 31 as the date for the next general election. On the concluding day of an extraordinary Diet session on October 14, he would dissolve the House of Representatives, paving the scene for election campaigning to begin on October 19.

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