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Fumio Kishida is Japan’s new PM as Yoshihide Suga steps down

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a hard challenge to everyone, with governments all around the world have been struggling to control the infections, provide vaccination and keep the economy from plummeting in the almost 18 months of nationwide lockdowns marked by daily rising figures and constrained healthcare systems. Following the resignation of Yoshihide Suga after just a year owing responsibility to poor handling of Covid situations, wishes poured in from World Leaders including the US President and the Indian PM as Japan’s Parliament Diet elected Fumio Kishida as the New Prime Minister.

The National Emergency that led to Suga’s resignation

While Japan was hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games after a long delay due to the pandemic, a state of emergency was imposed in many parts of the country following an unprecedented rise of Covid-19 infections.

Japan’s then Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the decision on 31st July –

“For the period until August 31, we have decided to apply the declaration of a state of emergency to Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, and Okinawa Prefectures, and to apply priority measures to prevent the spread of disease to Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka Prefectures,” it stated.

This was seen to be a major failure on the part of the government to tackle the pandemic phase which was said to be one of the worst in Japan. The measures were further extended and it was only at the end of September that restrictions were lifted in all areas and businesses reopened. Also, holding the Olympics at such a critical time was widely criticized in the country and the former PM’s favourability plummeted.

On Monday morning, Yoshihide Suga and the cabinet resigned en mass taking responsibility for all the aforementioned failures on the part of the government.

Fumio Kishida is Japan’s New PM

The leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Fumio Kishida was elected on Monday as Japan’s new Prime Minister to succeed Yoshihide Suga.

As the ruling coalition is led by the LDP and it controls both chambers, the former Foreign Minister received 311 of 458 votes in the House of Representatives and 141 of 241 votes in the House of Councilors, made it a comfortable victory against Yukio Edano, the head of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

The inauguration was held at Imperial Place and announcements for the new cabinet was made. 

Plans and Decisions for the way ahead

The primary task for Kishida is to revive the economy with a package worth “tens of trillions of yen” to help people and businesses suffering from the health crisis while tacking the Covid-19 situation in the country. He has promised to increase middle-class incomes and reduce wealth disparity, which is being viewed as a break from Japan’s existing economic policies.

The next challenge will be the general elections which he is planning to hold on October 31, for which campaigning for members of the House of Representatives is set to begin on October 19. Though known to hold conservative views on gender equality, he has promised a diversity-promoting society.

Following these was Kishida’s pursuant of foreign policies, in which he emphasized Japan-US relations while speaking with US President Biden regarding a nuclear-weapon-free world. He also said he would meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un without any preconditions and made statements on geographical tensions with China.

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