Japan’s Fumio Kishida Meets with Possible Future PM Candidates

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Illustrations of Sanae Takaichi(L), Fumio Kishida(C) and Taro Kono(R)

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a lunch meeting with digital minister Taro Kono and economic security minister Sanae Takaichi on Monday. Both ministers are said to have ambitions of succeeding Kishida as the Liberal Democratic Party president.

Both Kono and Takaichi ran for the presidency in September 2021 and lost to Kishida. How the two ministers will be treated is expected to be a focal point amid a reshuffle of Cabinet and LDP executive posts scheduled for September.

According to government sources, the one-hour meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo at Kishida’s suggestion.

Takaichi told reporters the lunch was “fun” as they talked about the 2023 FIBA men’s Basketball World Cup.

There is a view within the LDP that Kishida uses the meetings to help him make personnel decisions about the cabinet and party’s executive posts.

Kishida had a lunch meeting with former LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba, who was recently ranked as the top candidate for the next prime minister in opinion polls, on Aug. 4.