Fumio Kishida to be confirmed as Japan’s Prime Minister

Former Foreign Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida has won leadership of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and as a

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Photo: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Foreign Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida has won leadership of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and as a result will be confirmed as the Prime Minister of Japan later today.

Kishida’s main challenges as Prime Minister will be managing conflict with China. The Japanese government is committed to maintaining a free and open South and East China Sea; however, China has made large territorial claims in the region, including the disputed Senkaku Islands. These islands have caused several naval standoffs between the two countries.

Kishida’s confirmation tellingly comes just weeks after Japan held naval exercises with US, Canadian, Dutch, and British forces to prepare for a potential conflict. Additionally, Kishida also supports LDP’s stance towards strong relations with the US and has voiced his own concern over China and North Korea, advocating for a new missile defense system to counter aggression from both.

In the short- term, Kishida is likely to continue holding joint military drills in order to affirm Japan’s commitment to a free Indo-Pacific and Taiwan. However, Kishida’s support for a more robust missile defense system may draw criticism from within Japan, as defense bulking could be a catalyst for an arms race with China.

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