Japan 2021 : the liberal democratic party emerges stronger despite domestic tumult
Asia Maior : the journal of the Italian Think Tank on Asia, 2021, Vol. XXXII, pp. 63-93
PUGLIESE, Giulio, WALLACE, Corey, Japan 2021 : the liberal democratic party emerges stronger despite domestic tumult, Asia Maior : the journal of the Italian Think Tank on Asia, 2021, Vol. XXXII, pp. 63-93 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/75258
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
The COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact the Japanese economy as well as the political fortunes of Japan’s leader in 2021. For the second year in a row, Japan’s Prime Minister was forced to stand down, portending a return to the revolving door of one-year prime ministerships that characterized the politically tumultuous period between 2006 and 2012. Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s announcement that he would not seek reappointment as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), therefore effectively resigning as prime minister, precipitated the most competitive race for the LDP leadership in a decade in September. Suga’s anointed replacement was former record-setting Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio. Kishida was not the most popular choice for Japan’s next prime minister among the public or even the LDP party cadres. His initial cabinet ratings reflected this and the fact that Kishida had triumphed over then «vaccine minister» Kōno Tarō in the party contest primarily due to factional manoeuvrings facilitated by former Prime Minister Abe Shinzō. To the traditionally dovish Kishida’s credit, he demonstrated great pragmatism in 2021. He managed to win the backing of Abe and other conservatives by adapting his own political positions and adopting others from the conservative wing of the LDP, particularly on Taiwan policy, national security, and economic security policy. Kishida survived Japan’s October House of Representatives election in better than-expected shape and went on to improve his cabinet ratings in the last two months of 2021. Kishida entered 2022 in a strong position with both the COVID-19 and economic situation heading in the right direction ahead of the mid-2022 House of Councillors election—the last national election Kishida will have to face for three years if he prevails.
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Publisher: Viella ; University of Pavia
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