Kishida’s ability to realize policy goals to be tested

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida repeatedly expressed his theme of “implementing policies” at a press conference on Monday.

For example, he said, “Keeping a sense of stability, I shall make efforts to decisively implement my policies,” and “I shall demonstrate a sense of speed in implementing policies.”

Because the Liberal Democratic Party won a much higher number of seats in the House of Representatives election than had been predicted, one of Kishida’s aides said, “It has made it easier to demonstrate his policy stance.”

At the day’s press conference, Kishida clearly said that he “aims for a Reiwa version of the income doubling plan” to realize his cherished vision of “a new capitalism.”

The original income-doubling plan was announced by then Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda in 1960. The current Reiwa era began in 2019.

Kishida also mentioned “creation of an organization to be a control tower for crisis management against infectious diseases” and “creation of a new agency for children’s affairs.”

Kishida had made those two pledges while running in September’s LDP presidential election, but they were not included in the party’s policy statement for the lower house election.

Opposition parties had criticized Kishida for what they saw as stepping back from those promises after he won the party leadership race.

The first test of Kishida’s ability to get things done will be the need for him to coordinate opinions in the ruling camp over economic measures to be compiled in the middle of November.

Concerning financial aid to individuals, the prime minister urges speedy provision of assistance to non-regular employees and child-raising households, while the LDP’s ruling coalition partner Komeito urges for providing ¥100,000 worth of aid per person to children aged 18 or younger, as well as ¥30,000 worth of shopping points to holders of My Number identification cards.

Ahead of the next House of Councillors election in summer next year, it continues to be important for the LDP to maintain its alliance with Komeito. A focus of attention is how much consideration the prime minister will give to Komeito’s proposals.

At the press conference, Kishida only briefly said, “I shall coordinate common points [between the two parties] over how to provide the aid, and clarify the range of cash provisions.”

Over Japan’s possible possession of the capability to preemptively attack enemy missile sites or other bases in self-defense, attention is focused on how the LDP and Komeito will discuss the issue.

Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi maintains his cautious stance over the issue, saying, “It is an old debate.”

But at the press conference, Kishida emphatically said, “Though it is a debate which has existed since long ago, it is important to discuss a variety of firmly prepared options in light of increasingly sophisticated technology.