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Kishida of Japan hopes to solidify his premiership in upper house elections.

Kishida has set a victory target of 55 seats, which analysts believe he can easily achieve.


Kishida of Japan hopes to solidify his premiership in upper house elections

TOKYO, July 7 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Fumio Kishida probably counter the contentious party if the ruling party won the upper house elections on Sunday. As a result, he may leave his powerful predecessor's shadow behind and establish his premiership. Kishida might increase his chances of leading the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) into the next election by late 2025 if his party performs well as the polls anticipate. A seizure of power would offer the former Hiroshima banker the vision to increase defense spending and possibly amend the pacifist constitution.

 

The LDP's largest faction is led by two-term prime minister Abe, who continues to exercise absolute control over the organization. Shihoko Goto of the Wilson Center Think Tank stated, "This is really Kishida's chance to appear on center stage and establish what his own prime ministership will be," adding that it might enable Kishida to escape from "a looming shadow." Kishida, who held the position of the foreign minister under Abe, has sought to distance himself from his former employer after winning a contest for the party leadership internally with Abe's backing. Nobody anticipates the LDP taking a significant enough hammering to necessitate a change in government, despite voter dissatisfaction with price increases. However, performing worse than anticipated could harm Kishida's reputation inside the party and make it more difficult for Abe.

 

While offering few specifics, Kishida has opposed the neoliberal "Abenomics" of the previous decade in favor of a "new capitalism" that emphasizes wealth distribution to spur economic growth. According to polls, the LDP will gain at least 60 of the 125 sets up for grabs on Sunday as opposed to the current 55, maintaining its majority in the chamber alongside junior coalition partner Komeito. Kishida has set a victory goal of 55 seats, which many believe he can easily achieve. The LDP might have a majority in the upper chamber if it won 69 seats. Voters could retaliate against the LDP as the prices increase. Although low by global standards, inflation is at its highest in years and is putting pressure on households, where many haven't seen pay increases in 20 years. In the general elections held in October, the tiny, populist Japan Innovation Party gained support and may attract right-wing voters. Despite the fact that Kishida's popularity peaked in May at 66 percent thanks to his sanctions-based reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, recent polls indicate that his support is already dwindling. According to a poll conducted on June 27 by the NHK public broadcaster, 50% of voters supported the government. If the LDP doesn't win decisively on Sunday, Kishida may face problems inside the party.

At the American Progress Center, Tobias Harris stated, “Inflation and the debate over how to pay for defense spending increases are going to consume a lot of time and political capital in coming months,". In response to what Kishida perceives as brittle security in the region, he has pledged to raise defense spending, although he hasn't specified the details. According to opinion polls, almost two-thirds of voters favor strengthening the military, reflecting worries about China's power. This finding may also indicate public opposition to changing the constitution that the United States imposed on Japan. As a consequence of after its defeat in World War-II to restrain its military ambitions are waning. Formerly on the LDP's more dovish side, Kishida has subsequently moved to the right and said that several provisions of the constitution "are outmoded and inadequate."

 

Constitutional reform might gain traction if the Japan Innovation Party performs well. It supports change, much like the LDP. The voters' preference for the cordial Kishida over the occasionally combative Abe may end up being the best benefit, giving him more freedom. Increased defense spending is one of the specific measures that Kishida has proposed, and Goto claimed that people haven't actually voiced any objection to it. "It probably would contrast if Abe had said the same thing," says the speaker.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japans-kishida-hopes-put-stamp-premiership-upper-house-polls-2022-07-06/ 

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