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Where Will Fumio Kishida Take Japan?

Japan’s next prime minister will have more than enough time in office to introduce and implement an economic policy agenda of his choice. But while he has called for a move away from “neoliberalism,” it remains to be seen how far he will go in pursuing a new vision of capitalism.

TOKYO – On October 4, Fumio Kishida became Japan’s 100th prime minister, succeeding Yoshihide Suga, who held the office for only a year. Kishida secured the top job by prevailing in the four-person race to lead the Liberal Democratic Party. On October 31, he and the LDP will face a national election for the House of Representatives, the lower but more powerful chamber of the Japanese Diet.

Together with its coalition partner, the Komeito Party, the LDP is expected to win decisively. The latest NHK poll puts the LDP’s support at 38.8% (and Komeito’s at 3.9%). The largest opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party, polls just 6.6% support, followed by the Communist Party, with 2.8%.

If the LDP does indeed win big, Kishida will be on track for at least a three-year tenure as LDP president and up to four years as prime minster before the next parliamentary election must be held. That is more than enough time to introduce and implement a policy agenda of his choice, so the question is what route he will take.