Fumio Kishida has been named Japan’s 100th prime minister as he set out to form a government focused on addressing rising economic and national security threats from China.
Kishida won a tightly contested four-way race to succeed Yoshihide Suga last week as power brokers within the ruling Liberal Democratic party stood 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 his priority was to reward the many factions that supported him, analysts said, resulting in 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 finance portfolio. Abe’s younger brother Nobuo Kishi will remain as defence minister, while his gaffe-prone ally, education minister Koichi Hagiuda, will be appointed trade minister.
Kishida chose Takayuki Kobayashi, the 46-year-old former parliamentary vice-minister of defence, for the newly created post of minister for economic security, a striking appointment that delivered on his promise to bring in a younger generation of political leaders.
Working closely with Akira Amari, the new LDP secretary-general, Kobayashi is expected to focus on strategies to respond to China-related risks such as the semiconductor supply chain, cyber security and intellectual property.