Updated Sep 29, 2021 - World

Fumio Kishida set to be Japan's next prime minister

  Fumio Kishida, former foreign minister of Japan, at his office in Tokyo, Japan, on  Sept. 3.

Fumio Kishida, former foreign minister of Japan, at his office in Tokyo this month. Photo: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Fumio Kishida, Japan's former foreign minister, was elected leader of the country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The 64-year-old's win in the leadership election runoff means he's set to become prime minister of the world's third-largest economy, and a key U.S. ally, after a special parliamentary session on Monday, per the Washington Post.

What to expect: Kishida faces the challenge of reviving Japan's pandemic-hit economy following a lengthy state of emergency that began in April amid surging COVID-19 cases. Restrictions will finally lift for all regions this Thursday.

  • His "consensus style" should enable him to consolidate power within the divided party, Reuters notes.
  • Japan's new leader must call an election by Nov. 28.

The big picture: Kishida is succeeding Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who announced earlier this month that he was stepping down after serving one year in office.

  • Suga's approval rating plunged as Japan's COVID-19 cases soared during the Tokyo Olympics.
  • The 72-year-old had replaced Japan's longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who resigned in 2020 due to health issues. Before Abe took office, the country had 17 prime ministers in 14 years.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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