Kishida needs to add ability to take action to listening skills

For Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the House of Representatives election results were bittersweet.

Even though the ruling coalition has secured the foundation for carrying out its policies by exceeding the majority, the Liberal Democratic Party lost seats and the party’s secretary general lost in his single-seat constituency. This was likely due to the public’s dissatisfaction with the government’s measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the arrogance of the long-running series of LDP administrations. Kishida should humbly accept the results and conduct policies in a more polite and tolerant way.

During his campaign for party president, Kishida pledged the creation of a health crisis management agency and the toughening of taxation on financial income, but the prime minister did not include these in the LDP campaign pledges, giving off an unsteady impression. Kishida’s favorite motto about treating others with the warmth of spring breeze is taken from words preached by Sato Issai, a Confucian scholar from the end of the Edo period. It was also Sato who said: “You must not lose your judgment about the gravity of things when you engage in politics. Don’t make mistakes about speed or order.” When tackling various issues, it is necessary to skillfully prioritize them.

Preparations must be made to ensure that the medical care system does not collapse even if the coronavirus again spreads widely. In order not to stumble like the previous cabinet did, measures should be effective. The elimination of encumbrances should also be sped up.

A policy to distribute wealth is perhaps effective for an economy that has suffered from repeated restrictions and self-imposed restraints. It is important to devise concrete measures after carefully examining the cost-effectiveness of measures, without obscuring the source of funds. Of course, we should not forget to keep perspectives for promoting reforms to tax, fiscal systems and social security.

During the election campaign period, North Korea fired two missiles into the Sea of Japan. Ten Chinese and Russian warships made a disquieting trip, rounding the Japanese archipelago. It is time for the government and ruling parties to review their national security strategies quickly in line with reality and show some dignity.

The so-called Kishida notes have been a talking point. In fact, Toshimichi Okubo, a Japanese statesman from the 19th century who was involved in the Meiji Restoration, was said to also have carried a notebook with him to write down what he was listening to. Fellow politician Shigenobu Okuma had this to say about Okubo: “He dared to act decisively toward what he believed was right.” In the run-up to next summer’s House of Councillors election, the prime minister will be called upon to not only show his listening skills, but also his ability to take action.