Fumio Kishida (岸田 文雄, Kishida Fumio, born 29 July 1957) is a Japanese politician who serves as the 100th and current Prime Minister of Japan. He has also presided over the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since 29 September 2021. A member of the House of Representatives, he previously served as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2017 and as acting Minister of Defense in 2017 he also chaired the LDP Policy Research Council from 2017 to 2020.
He won the 2021 LDP leadership election with 60.2% of the vote in the runoff against Taro Kono, and succeeded the previous party leader Yoshihide Suga as Prime Minister of Japan on 4 October 2021.
Fumio Kishida Wiki/Biography
Kishida was born to a political family in Shibuya, Tokyo, on 29 July 1957. His father and grandfather were former politicians who were lower house members, and also, former prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa is a distant relative of his.
He went to P.S. 013 Clement C. Moore elementary school in Elmhurst, New York because his father was posted to a job in the U.S. at the time.
Kishida studied law at Waseda University and graduated in 1982. At Waseda, he was friends with future politician Takeshi Iwaya.
After working at now-defunct Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan and then as a secretary to a member of the House of Representatives, Kishida was elected to the House of Representatives in the 1993 general election, representing the Hiroshima 1st district.
Kishida served as Minister of Okinawa Affairs from 2007 to 2008, firstly in the Abe Cabinet and later in the Fukuda cabinet. He was appointed state minister in charge of consumer affairs and food safety in the cabinet of then prime minister Yasuo Fukuda in 2008. Kishida was also state minister in charge of science and technology in the Fukuda cabinet.
He was close to Makoto Koga, leader of the Kōchikai faction, one of the oldest inside the LDP, and assumed control of it in October 2012 after Makoto Koga announced his retirement from politics.
Following the LDP’s victory in the 2012 general election, Kishida was named foreign minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on 26 December 2012. He became the longest-serving foreign minister in postwar history, unseating Abe’s father Shintaro Abe. He helped to arrange U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima in May 2016, and gained attention in 2017 when he appeared alongside comedian Piko Taro to promote a UN program.
He was not in favor of the appointment of Toshihiro Nikai as LDP secretary-general by Abe in 2016 against the wishes of Kishida’s own faction, which was seen as an attempt at blocking generational change inside the LDP.
In 2017, Kishida left the Cabinet to take over the chairmanship of the LDP Policy Research Council, a position traditionally seen as a stepping stone to leadership of the party. He sought this position in order to improve his chances to succeed Abe, as the foreign minister post had relatively little influence within the party.
Kishida considered running in the 2018 LDP presidential election, but he was persuaded by Abe not to run, with a suggestion that Abe would later support Kishida as his successor. By mid-2020, several senior LDP lawmakers had shifted their support from Kishida to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso was quoted as saying “Kishida is for peacetime, not for troubled times.” One factor in this shift was an unsuccessful proposal by Kishida to provide a 300,000 yen stimulus payment to households during the COVID-19 pandemic. After Suga won the 2020 LDP presidential election and became Prime Minister, Kishida was not offered a position in the Suga cabinet, although his faction obtained two cabinet seats.
Prime Minister of Japan
On 29 September 2021, Kishida defeated Taro Kono in a runoff vote to become the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and replaced outgoing party leader Yoshihide Suga. He received a total of 257 votes, from 249 parliament members and eight rank-and-file members, to become Japan’s next Prime Minister. Kishida’s Cabinet, which took office on 4 October 2021, consists of 21 members, including 13 who joined the Cabinet for the first time while also including 2 veterans, Toshimitsu Motegi and Nobuo Kishi who retained their respective posts from the previous cabinet under Suga. Kishida announced he would call an election for 31 October 2021.
Kishida is seen as dovish on foreign policy and lukewarm about revising the pacifist constitution. Following the political philosophy of his own faction, Kishida has pledged a “humane diplomacy” based on the Peace Constitution, the Japan-U.S. alliance, and the Self-Defense Forces and that he will seek to strengthen Japan-U.S. relations and to promote the free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy while counterbalancing Chinese political assertiveness and military presence in the region.
Regarding Chinese influence over Taiwan and Hong Kong, Kishida has stated that the Taiwan Strait may be the “next major diplomatic problem” following “China’s clampdown on Hong Kong” and that Japan should seek more cooperation with Taiwan.
Despite being the leader of the moderate Kōchikai faction, Kishida like many other LDP members of parliament is affiliated to the parliamentary league of the ultra-conservative organization Nippon Kaigi.
During the 2021 LDP presidential race he called for Japan to strive for a new form of capitalism to reduce income disparity saying neo-liberalism and deregulation have widened economic gaps in society.
Kishida is in favor of retaining nuclear power technology, which he says should be considered as a clean energy option, while also calling for the setting up of $90.7 billion university fund to further stimulate science and promotion of renewable energy.
Being a representative from Hiroshima, Kishida has consistently advocated for Japanese diplomacy to promote nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
He stated support for discussions toward allowing married Japanese couples to choose between unified single surnames or separate last names.
In 2017, while serving as foreign minister, Kishida pressured China to pressure North Korea in regards of denuclearization. During the race for the leadership of the LDP, Kishida also addressed the issue of Japanese abductees by North Korea and supported a summit between Japan and North Korea to end the issue. Also, Kishida took a stronger stance than other contenders regarding China and North Korea and said that Japan should strengthen its defenses at the same time of recognizing that there is a clash between authoritarianism and democracy in the region, especially in regards of the status of Taiwan.
Both Kishida’s grandfather, Masaki Kishida, and his father, Fumitake Kishida, were members of the House of Representatives, and his cousin is former Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry minister Yoichi Miyazawa. He is fond of okonomiyaki Hiroshima-style as prepared by his wife Yuko Kashida, one presentation of which featured in LDP messaging immediately after he became the de facto PM-designate.
- Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau (29 October 2014).