Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-09-17 12:30:00 –
Tokyo >> On Friday, an official election campaign was launched targeting the next leader of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party. The winner will almost certainly be the world’s third-largest economic leader, forming a major political, military and security role in the region.
Two men and two women, rare in Japan, are competing in a vote on September 29 to replace Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Their policies focus on how to address China’s increasingly threatening role in regional affairs from the perspective of anti-coronavirus measures, pandemic-stricken economies, and Tokyo.
The Associated Press explains who these politicians are, their policies, and the importance of elections to both Japan and Asia.
— Taro Kono: Most of Japan is considered a conservative political and cultural maverick, he is the minister in charge of vaccination and a leading candidate for elections. Mr. Kono (58) is a fluent English-speaking person who graduated from Georgetown University. He is an avid Twitter user, has many young fans, and is a rare figure in Japanese politics dominated by older men. Kono, who is generous with social issues, supports same-sex marriage and promotes the role of women. Prime Minister Kono said he would work with countries that share democratic values, serving as Foreign and Defense Ministers, to counter China’s growing claims at the regional seas. He highlighted his work in speeding up Japan’s delayed vaccinations and portrayed himself as a leader in getting things done by removing bureaucratic barriers as needed. Suga announced his support for Kono in honor of his achievements in speeding up vaccination. He is endorsed by other popular reformers and is considered a rival to former arch-conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s supporters.
Fumio Kishida: The 64-year-old former Foreign Minister was once seen as an indecisive moderate. But recently he has shifted to security and diplomatic hawks for help from influential conservatives like Prime Minister Abe. Prime Minister Kishida vows to confront China with Beijing’s crackdown on tensions in the Taiwan Strait and opposition in Hong Kong, calling for further expansion of Japan’s defense capabilities and budget. As for the economy, we are calling for a “new capitalism” of growth and distribution to close the income gap between the rich and the poor, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. He promises to promote clean energy technologies to turn climate change into growth and proposes a large economic recovery package.
Seiko Noda: For many years she wanted to be Japan’s first female leader, and she will be racing for the first time at the age of 61. She has served as Minister of Postal, Interior Affairs and Gender Equality. Noda, who has been striving for a long time to deal with the decline in the birth rate, had his first child at the age of 50 after childbirth treatment. The rapid decline in Japan’s population is a serious national security risk, as Japan does not have enough troops and police in the coming decades, she said. She supported same-sex marriage, acceptance of sexual diversity, and legislative changes that allowed couples to have different names, and campaigned for quotas to increase the number of female parliamentarians. Noda, who entered late in the race, said he was running for the vulnerable “to achieve diversity,” a goal not emphasized by other candidates.
Sanae Takaichi: Former ultra-conservative Minister of Interior Sanae Takaichi (60) shares Prime Minister Abe’s revisionist view of Japan’s wartime atrocities and hawkish attitudes towards security. She visits Yasukuni Shrine on a regular basis. Yasukuni Shrine enshrines war criminals among the war dead and is considered by China and South Korea to be evidence of Japan’s lack of remorse. Her security policy includes the development of preemptive strike capabilities to counter threats from China and North Korea. Sanae Takaichi has introduced a big government spending “sanaenomics” policy, similar to Prime Minister Abe’s typical economic policy. A heavy metal band drummer and student bike rider, she loves traditional gender roles and paternal family systems, and is firmly supportive of the male-only succession of the imperial family.
What does the election mean for Japan?
The sudden resignation of Prime Minister Suga, who served as Prime Minister Abe for nearly eight years before taking office last year, was at the end of an era when he saw extraordinary political stability even in the face of corruption scandals and the tense relationship between China and South Korea. It means possibility.
Professor Masato Imonokubo of Ritsumeikan University said he would decide whether the Japanese ruling party could get out of the shadow of Prime Minister Abe in the next election. But whoever became prime minister, he said, Japan’s diplomatic and security policy has changed little.
Suga and his government’s approval rating plummeted as he insisted on hosting the Olympics during his virus handling and pandemic. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants new leaders to gain public support ahead of the House of Representatives election, which must take place by late November, said Tetsuo Suzuki, a political journalist and commentator. However, it is feared that Prime Minister Suga’s term will end in just one year and that he will return to the short-lived prime minister of Japan’s “revolving door personnel.”
This campaign is only for Liberal and grassroots members of Parliament, not the general public.
With the LDP and its coalition partners making up the majority in both houses, anyone who wins is likely to be the next prime minister in a parliamentary vote.
If the vote on September 29 does not win the majority, the winner will be decided by the final vote. It states that political watchers may be in favor of Kishida under the influence of a power struggle among political party tycoons.
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