Fumio Kishida will be Japan’s next prime minister after winning a leadership battle where the ruling Liberal Democratic Party risks its future on stability rather than gambling on a new generation of leaders.
The victory in a fiercely contested contest on Wednesday was a startling return for the year-old former foreign minister, whose political fortunes were shattered after his defeat to Yoshihide Sugar in last year’s LDP leadership battle.
But Kishidar’s victory was a blow to members of the younger generation, who hoped that the leadership contest would bring about a generational change and a break from the vague group-based politics that had defined Japanese politics for decades.
None of the four contestants were able to secure a majority in the first round after Wednesday’s vote dragged them into the second round.
Kishida won 256 of the 222 ballots cast by MPs and party members, while the vaccination minister received 255 votes. Preliminary results were disappointing for Cono, a candidate who received strong support from the public and the younger generation. He came in third in terms of MP votes alone.
In the second round, where MPs dominate the vote, Kishida easily defeated someone and won the o0 percent ballot as senior MPs from the powerful LDP sided with her to ensure policy continuity and predictions.
Although there is little public support for him, Kishidar’s victory is unlikely to allay investors’ fears that Japan is returning to a rolling premiership after nearly eight years of stability under Shinzo Abe.
The Japanese stock, which jumped to a Japanese year high in the days following Sugar’s resignation, fell sharply after it became clear on Wednesday that Kishida would be the next prime minister.
Kishida, who is expected to be appointed prime minister on Monday, will not have much time to settle down before a general election is held in late November.
During his campaign, Kishida vowed to move away from the neo-liberal outlook controlled by his predecessors and promised a more equitable distribution of wealth.
But analysts said he is unlikely to deviate significantly from the abnomics program of aggressive financial and monetary stimulus in the near term as the country faces a collapse from the coronavirus epidemic.
In early September, Suga abruptly announced that she would not seek re-election in the LVD leadership race because her popularity had declined due to her management of Covid-1. He served only one year.
Since then, as vaccination rates have risen and new coward cases have decreased, the government has declared a state of emergency in all parts of Japan for the first time since April.
On the foreign policy front, Kishida is expected to continue Japan’s close security alliance with the United States, while increasing its defense capabilities and spending more money on dealing with China.
Traders said that while the focus of domestic investors will now shift to issues such as reviving the economy and taking stimulus measures, foreign investors, who own about one-third of the Japanese market and represent 50 per cent of the daily volume, are probably more international.
“The market doesn’t like results – foreigners love an English speaker,” said CNS strategist Nicholas Smith Connor.
Both Topix and Nikkei were trading lower on the benchmark Wednesday, but dipped in the last 30 minutes of trading to 2.1 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.