TOKYO – Fumio Kishida, leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was elected on Monday as the country's new prime minister to succeed Yoshihide Suga.
As the ruling coalition led by the LDP controls both chambers, 64-year-old Kishida secured a majority of votes of both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors.
After naming his new Cabinet in the afternoon, Kishida will be formally inaugurated in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace and hold a press conference in the evening.
Kishida's first major test as prime minister will be the general election. He is planning to hold the election on Oct. 31, while campaigning for members of the House of Representatives is set to begin on Oct. 19.
Kishida has promised to increase middle-class incomes and reduce wealth disparity under his "new form of capitalism", which is viewed as a break from the "neoliberal policies" that the Japanese government has pursued over the past two decades.
In addition, he said that an economic package worth "tens of trillions of yen" is in preparation to help people and businesses suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kishida's predecessor Yoshihide Suga's Cabinet resigned en masse on Monday morning, little more than a year after its formation, amid criticism over its lack of ability to curb Covid-19.
As Japan's Covid-19 infections declined recently, and nearly 60 percent of Japan's population received a second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine, the new prime minister will need to first handle the tasks of gradually lifting the restrictions on social and business activities and opening the border to foreign travelers. (Xinhua)