Kishida pledges to lead Japan with "trust and empathy" to fix it

Fumio Kishida, Japan's new Prime Minster, made his first policy speech Friday. He promised to improve pandemic management, health care in the event of another coronavirus outbreak, turn around Japan's economy, and strengthen the country's defenses from threats from China, North Korea, and other countries.

Kishida pledges to lead Japan with "trust and empathy" to fix it

Kishida was given the crucial task of mobilizing support for national elections on Oct. 31. He promised to pursue politics of trust and empathy.

He was elected by parliament to be sworn into office Monday as Japan's 100th Prime Minister. He succeeds Yoshihide Sug, who resigned after just one year. Suga's apparent arrogance in dealing with virus cases and holding the Olympics despite increasing numbers of cases angered the public, and hurt the ruling Liberal Democrats.

Kishida stated, "I will dedicate my body and soul in order to overcome the national crises together with the people who pioneer the new age so that we can leave a bountiful Japan for the next generation."

Kishida stated that he would be more attentive to the public's concerns and will prepare virus measures based upon "a worst-case scenario". This includes using a drop in infection to improve crisis management, approve COVID-19 treatment pills before December 31, and digitize vaccine certificates for home use as Japan slowly expands its social and economic activities.

He is a former moderate, but he recently became hawkish on security issues. He said that Japan should also be more prepared for regional threats.

He stated that the security environment has become more difficult and that he would review Japan's national security strategy and defense strategy in order to increase missile defense capability and naval defence.

Kishida stated, "I'm determined defend our land and territorial seas, air space, as well as the lives and assets of the people, no matter what."

He said that the Japan-U.S. Alliance remains the "lynchpin” of diplomatic and security policy and vowed not to lower the partnership. The alliance "also serves as the foundation for peace and prosperity in Indo-Pacific and around the world."

Kishida stated that "establishing stable relations with China is important both for the two countries as well as for the region" and "will speak up" against China’s unilateral and coercive activities in the region while cooperating with other similar-minded democracies.

China is now more assertive in pursuing its territorial claims in South China Sea. China built several islands on man-made islands, and turned them into military facilities. It also claimed Senkaku in East China Sea. Beijing has also increased its military activities in the area of Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory.

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