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Japan’s Election Looks Closer Than Usual, but Party in Power Has Hit Snooze

Fumio Kishida, who was chosen as Japan's Prime Minister last month by the governing Liberal Democrats, is hoping to lead the party to victory on October 31 in a closer-than-usual parliamentary election.

October 31, 2021 / 05:35 PM IST
Fumio Kishida (Image: AP)

Fumio Kishida (Image: AP)

Japan has had no shortage of faceless prime ministers over the decades, a revolving door of leaders forgotten nearly as soon as they leave office. The most recent to hit the exit, who himself lasted only a year, was faulted for a communication style that often came across like a cure for insomnia.

Now comes Fumio Kishida, who was chosen as prime minister last month by the governing Liberal Democrats and is hoping to lead the party to victory on October 31 in a closer-than-usual parliamentary election.

In anointing Kishida, 64, the Liberal Democrats passed over both an outspoken maverick who was popular with the public and a far-right nationalist who would have been Japan’s first female leader.

While slightly less stodgy than his predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, Kishida is frequently described as “boring” by the Japanese media, and he still struggles to connect with the public, or even his supporters and friends.