• Politics & Government

Kishida vows to heed public’s call

Pool photo via AP
Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party leader Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the party headquarters in Tokyo on Monday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to heed the verdict of the people on Monday, the day after the ruling coalition’s victory in the House of Representatives election.

“It was a very tough election, but I am very grateful that the election results illustrated the people’s desire to see this country build its future under a stable government led by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito. I accept this humbly,” Kishida said at a press conference at LDP headquarters.

“The LDP received precious support to win 261 seats,” the prime minister said. “As the party that bears responsibility, the LDP will continue to answer the public’s call.”

Kishida added, “We must solemnly accept the fact that our party has also been the subject of much criticism.

“We have proceeded swiftly — from the LDP presidential election to the launch of the Cabinet, the dissolution [of the lower house] and the general election. Now that we have won a mandate from the public, we will quickly implement our policy measures, keeping in mind the weight of each and every vote that we received from the people.”

COVID-19 measures

“We will present a comprehensive picture of our measures regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic by the middle of this month,” Kishida said at the press conference.

“By the end of this month, we intend to establish a system that will ensure that people who need to be hospitalized can be hospitalized,” he said. “We will also build a fast-response system in which doctors or other medical professionals will contact all [COVID-19] patients staying at home or at accommodation facilities on the day they test positive or by the following day at the latest.”

“We intend to begin the third round of vaccinations in December. While greatly expanding the scope of free testing, we will aim to commercialize oral medicine [for COVID-19] by the end of this year,” Kishida said.

Economic revitalization

“I will take the lead in formulating large-scale economic measures in mid-November,” Kishida said at the press conference. “We intend to pass a supplementary budget in the Diet as early as possible this year and deliver the results to the people as soon as we can. We will support people’s livelihood by including [in the economic measures] benefits for non-regular workers, people raising children, and others who have trouble making ends meet.”

“We will also consider restarting the Go To Travel campaign after reworking it so it will be safe,” Kishida said. “We will strongly encourage companies to raise wages by drastically strengthening the tax benefits for wage increases and making wage hikes a requirement for receiving subsidies.”

“I will personally face labor and management representatives to lead discussions on wage increases,” he said.

Diplomacy, security

“I will actively pursue top-level diplomacy,” Kishida also said at the press conference. “I intend to visit the United States, as well as other allies and partner nations, as soon as possible. I will also welcome them to our country.

“We intend to respond with speed to new issues such as establishing a missile defense network, AI and other advanced technologies, space, and the cyber world.”