Fumio Kishida was named Japan’s 100th Prime Minister when he wanted to form a government focused on addressing rising economic and national security threats from China.
Kishida won a highly competitive four-way race to succeed Yoshihide Suga last week as the power broker within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party behind the 64-year-old former foreign minister’s promise to maintain continuity and political stability.
In line with his leadership contest victory, Koshida’s cabinet line-up suggested that his priority be to reward the many factions that supported him, analysts said, leading to critical posts for allies of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso.
Aso, 81, will be replaced for the first time in nine years, with his brother-in-law Shunichi Suzuki taking over the financial portfolio. Abe’s younger brother Nobuo Kishi will remain Minister of Defense while his vulnerable ally, Minister of Education Koichi Hagiuda, will be appointed Minister of Commerce.
Kishida elected Takayuki Kobayashi, 46-year-old former Deputy Defense Minister of Parliament, for the newly created post of Minister of Economic Security.
Working closely with Akira Amari, the new LDP general secretary, Kobayashi is expected to focus on strategies to respond to China-related risks such as the semiconductor supply chain, cybersecurity and intellectual property.