Kishida administration back to work after LDP secures controlling majority

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida enters the Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters in Tokyo on Monday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is also president of the Liberal Democratic Party, began work to launch what will officially be his second cabinet on Monday after the ruling coalition of the LDP and Komeito secured a majority of seats in the House of Representatives election the previous day.

The government and the ruling parties intend to convene a special Diet session on Nov. 10 to vote to designate the prime minister. Kishida is expected to be chosen and to inaugurate his second cabinet later on the same day.

In Sunday’s election, the LDP saw its number of seats in the chamber decline from 276 to 261, but that number is exactly enough for a single-party controlling majority that enables the LDP to manage Diet affairs stably.

On Monday morning, Kishida attended a special LDP board meeting at the party headquarters. “The ruling parties won a majority in the election, which was intended to choose a government,” he told reporters ahead of the meeting. “I feel very encouraged. We want to draw on the election results in the management of the government and the Diet.”

Motegi to replace Amari

Later on the same day, Kishida decided to appoint Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi as the successor to LDP Secretary General Akira Amari. In Sunday’s election Amari was defeated in a single-seat constituency and expressed to Kishida his intention to step down from the party post.

As Kishida had just launched his first Cabinet on Oct. 4, all the Cabinet members are basically expected to be reappointed.

Kishida met with Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi on Monday afternoon to confirm that the LDP and Komeito would maintain their ruling coalition.

Toshiaki Endo, head of the LDP’s Election Strategy Headquarters, told reporters at the party headquarters on Monday morning: “To be honest, I didn’t think we could get this many [seats]. This will allow us to run the government very effectively.”

The controlling majority that the LDP held on to in the election allows the party to chair all 17 standing committees in the lower house and to comprise the majority of each committee’s membership.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The LDP and Komeito secretaries general and Diet affairs chairs were to meet at the Diet Building on Monday afternoon to confirm plans to coordinate with opposition parties to convene a special Diet session on Nov. 10.

On Tuesday morning, Kishida is scheduled to leave for Britain to attend the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26), his first overseas trip since taking office. The prime minister will deliver a speech at the summit, where he is likely to express his determination to lead global efforts to tackle climate change. Arrangements are being made for talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to get his work as the head of Japan’s diplomacy into full gear.

Kishida plans to compile economic stimulus measures in the middle of this month and aims for Diet passage of a supplementary budget for fiscal 2021 to cover these economic measures by the end of this year. The main pillar of the economic stimulus package is expected to be the provision of benefits to businesses hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic and struggling households. As for measures against COVID-19, on which the Cabinet has placed top priority, Kishida intends to soon present a comprehensive plan, including a measure to secure hospital beds, to prepare for a potential sixth wave of infections that is feared to occur this winter.