Japan's next prime minister is more or less decided.
64-year-old Fumio Kishida was elected leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In the Japanese political system, this means that Kishida is all but confirmed to succeed current PM Yoshihide Suga.
The establishment's choice, Kishida, will formally take office as prime minister in a parliamentary session that's scheduled to begin on Oct. 4, according to Nikkei Asia.
Taking China's threat seriously
Much like his predecessors, Kishida is for a strong alliance between Japan and the U.S., and has voiced his concerns over China's military expansion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In an interview with Nikkei Asia, Kishida said he would make countering China's influence a top priority for his administration, citing a "deep alarm" at Beijing's assertive behaviour both diplomatically and economically.
The former foreign minister under Suga's predecessor Shinzo Abe had also called for Japan to increase its defence spending in order to deal with what they perceived as growing threats from China and North Korea.
LDP's choice of Kishida as the next leader for Japan also could mark a growing concern towards China among its members, as pointed out by Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith.
Kishida is Japan's new PM! Since hawkishness on China is his defining issue, this definitely shows that the LDP (Japan's ruling party) is very worried about China. https://t.co/lcldENII5T— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) September 29, 2021
Top image via @kishida230/Twitter & Shreyas Reddy/Twitter
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