Kishida Ties as 9th-Longest Serving Leader in Postwar Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Fumio Kishida tied with Kakuei Tanaka as the ninth-longest serving prime minister in Japan’s post-World War II history, with Thursday marking his 886th day in office.

If Kishida manages to stay in office until the end of his tenure as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party at the end of September, his run would reach 1,093 days, surpassing Ryutaro Hashimoto as the eighth-longest serving prime minister, who held office for 932 days.

It is unclear whether Kishida will be re-elected as LDP president as he struggles with low public approval ratings amid criticism of the ruling party’s high-profile political funds scandal.

Some ruling and opposition party members speculate that Kishida may be considering calling a snap general election to coincide with three parliamentary by-elections in April or the end of the current parliamentary session in June.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Kishida said he would “continue to tackle issues one by one, placing importance on accumulating efforts,” referring to the challenges of recovering from the Noto Peninsula earthquake, regaining public trust in politics and overcoming deflation.

Tanaka took office in 1972 when he was 54 years old, becoming the youngest prime minister in the postwar period at that time. His achievements included normalizing diplomatic relations with China.