Who is Fumio Kishida, Japan's New Prime Minister?

RISS senior expert Yulia Kryachkina analyzes major biographical and career milestones of Fumio Kishida, who won a race to lead Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and became the nation's 100th prime minister. The Japanese analyst believes that Kishida is expected to bring policy continuity in Japan's domestic and foreign policies.

Summary:

  • Kishida comes from a political family in Hiroshima — both his grandfather and father were members of the Diet. As a child, Kishida spent three years in New York when his father was posted to the US as a senior trade ministry official, where he attended public school in Queens. Kishida studied law at prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo.

  • Kishida's victory puts an end to the period of charismatic self-made prime ministers in Japan. He is a compromise figure.

  • Kishida’s early moves reflect a continuation of his predecessors’ economic and diplomatic principles. In domestic policy Kishida promises to transform the Japanese economy by implementing a new model of capitalism, while also vowing to expand the middle class. He also aims to double spending on weapons and defense equipment in response to what he described as growing threats from China and North Korea. On diplomacy, Kishida promises to strengthen the Japan-US alliance and work with allies to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific. Kishida’s willingness to articulate a harder line towards China marks how far the LDP’s center has shifted towards a harder line on Beijing. However, Kishida is expected to strike a balance between pressuring China and maintaining good relations.
interview Japan Fumio Kishida Yulia Kryachkina