Fumio Kishida

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Fumio Kishida
岸田 文雄
Fumio Kishida 2021 (cropped).jpg
Kishida in 2021
Prime Minister of Japan
Assumed office
4 October 2021
Preceded byYoshihide Suga
President of the Liberal Democratic Party
Assumed office
29 September 2021
Vice PresidentTarō Asō
Secretary-GeneralAkira Amari
Preceded byYoshihide Suga
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
26 December 2012 – 3 August 2017
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byKōichirō Genba
Succeeded byTarō Kōno
Minister of Defense
In office
28 July 2017 – 3 August 2017
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byTomomi Inada
Succeeded byItsunori Onodera
Junior ministerial offices
Minister of State for Okinawa and the Northern Territories
In office
27 August 2007 – 1 August 2008
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Yasuo Fukuda
Preceded bySanae Takaichi
Succeeded byMotoo Hayashi
Minister of State for Space
In office
6 February 2008 – 1 August 2008
Prime MinisterYasuo Fukuda
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded bySeiko Noda
Minister of State for Consumers
In office
18 June 2008 – 1 August 2008
Prime MinisterYasuo Fukuda
Preceded byOffice created
Succeeded bySeiko Noda
Minister of State for Regulatory Reform
In office
27 August 2007 – 1 August 2008
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Yasuo Fukuda
Preceded byYoshimi Watanabe
Succeeded byKaoru Yosano
Minister of State for Science, Technology and Quality of Life
In office
27 August 2007 – 1 August 2008
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Yasuo Fukuda
Preceded byOffice created
Succeeded bySeiko Noda
Member of the House of Representatives
from Hiroshima
Assumed office
20 October 1996
Preceded byConstituency established
Constituency1st district
In office
18 July 1993 – September 27, 1996
ConstituencyFormer 1st district
(Elect Four)
Personal details
岸田文雄 (Kishida Fumio)

(1957-07-29) 29 July 1957 (age 64)
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic
(m. 1988)
EducationKaisei Academy
Alma materWaseda University (LLB)

Fumio Kishida (岸田 文雄, Kishida Fumio, born 29 July 1957) is a Japanese politician serving as Prime Minister of Japan since 4 October 2021. He has also been the President of 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. From 2017 to 2020, he also chaired the LDP Policy Research Council.

Born into a political family, Kishida spent part of his childhood in the United States where he attended elementary school in New York City.[1] After beginning his career in finance, Kishida entered politics and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1993 as a member of the LDP. Kishida was appointed to various posts in the cabinets of Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda from 2007-2008, and was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2012 after Abe regained the premiereship following the 2012 general election, becoming the longest-serving Foreign Affairs Minister in Japanese history. Kishida later resigned from the Abe cabinet in 2017 in order to head the LDP's Policy Research Council. Kishida also assumed control of the LDP's Kōchikai faction in 2012 following the death of former faction boss Makoto Koga.

Long considered a potential future prime minister, Kishida ran in the 2020 LDP leadership election, however he lost to Yoshihide Suga. Kishida ran again for the party leadership in 2021, this time winning in a second round run-off against opponent Taro Kono. Kishida was confirmed as Prime Minister by the National Diet four days later on 4 October 2021.[2] Kishida has stated that his premiership will focus on a "new model of capitalism", by seeking to implement redistributive policies and expand the middle class, and will seek to strengthen the Quad Security Dialogue in pursuit of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific foreign policy.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Kishida was born to a political family in Shibuya, Tokyo, on 29 July 1957.[4][5][6] His father Fumitake Kishida was a government official in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and director of The Small and Medium Enterprise Agency. Since the Kishida family was from Hiroshima, the family returned there every summer. Many members of the Kishida family had died in the atomic bombing and Fumio grew up hearing stories from the atomic bomb survivors.[7] Both his father Fumitake and grandfather Masaki Kishida were former politicians who were members of the House of Representatives.[6] Former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa is his cousin[8][9] and former prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa is a distant relative of his.[6]

He went to P.S. 013 Clement C. Moore elementary school in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens, New York, because his father was posted to a job in the U.S. at the time.[1] He also attended Kōjimachi Elementary School and Kōjimachi Junior High School. Kishida graduated from Kaisei Academy, where he also played on the baseball team.[10]

Following several rejections from the University of Tokyo, Kishida studied law at Waseda University and graduated in 1982.[5][10] At Waseda, he was friends with future politician Takeshi Iwaya.[11][12]

Political career[edit]

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.[13]

Kishida served as Minister of Okinawa Affairs from 2007 to 2008, firstly in the Abe Cabinet and later in the Fukuda cabinet.[14] He was appointed state minister in charge of consumer affairs and food safety in the cabinet of then prime minister Yasuo Fukuda in 2008.[6] Kishida was also state minister in charge of science and technology in the Fukuda cabinet.[14]

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.[6]

Abe government[edit]

Kishida with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, February 2017
Then-former Foreign Affairs Minister Kishida with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, September 2014

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.[13][15] He became the longest-serving foreign minister in postwar history, surpassing Abe's father Shintaro Abe.[16] 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 United Nations program.[11]

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.[17]

In 2017, Kishida left the Cabinet to take over the chairmanship of the LDP Policy Research Council, a position tradtionally seen as a stepping stone to leadership of the party.[18] 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.[16]

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.[19] 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."[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]

Prime Minister of Japan[edit]

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.[23] 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.[24] Kishida announced he would call a general election for 31 October 2021.[25]

Kishida gave his first speech as prime minister on 8 October 2021, where he vowed to fight and end the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan and also announced measures to counter the perceived threats by China and North Korea.[26]

Policy views[edit]

Kishida is seen as dovish on foreign policy and lukewarm about revising Japan's pacifist constitution.[27][28] 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.[28]

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.[29]

Despite being the leader of the moderate Kōchikai faction,[28][30] Kishida, like many other LDP members of parliament, is affiliated with the parliamentary league of the ultra-conservative organization Nippon Kaigi.[31] However, he is also described as a centrist politician.[32][12]

During the 2021 LDP presidential race, he called for Japan to strive for a new form of capitalism to reduce income disparity, saying neoliberalism and deregulation have widened economic gaps in society.[33][34]

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 establishment of a $90.7 billion university fund to further stimulate science and promotion of renewable energy.[33]

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).[28]

He stated support for discussions toward allowing married Japanese couples to choose between unified single surnames or separate last names.[35]

In 2017, while serving as foreign minister, Kishida pressured China to pressure North Korea in regards of denuclearization.[36] 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.[37] Kishida also took a stronger stance than other contenders regarding China and North Korea, saying that Japan should strengthen its defenses, while at the same time of recognizing that there is a clash between authoritarianism and democracy in the region, especially with regard to the status of Taiwan.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Kishida is fond of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki as prepared by his wife Yuko Kishida, a daughter of a real estate businessman. They tied the knot in an arranged wedding in 1988, and they have 3 sons.[39] In one presentation, Yuko was featured in the LDP messaging immediately after he became the de facto PM-designate.[10][40] He is a drinker as well as an anime and manga fan. He is a well-known fan of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, with Akaza being his favourite character in the series. He has pledged to financially support the Japanese animation industry during his premiership.[41] He is also a known baseball fan, as he is a fan of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team.[12]



  1. ^ a b Landers, Peter (3 September 2021). "Japan's Next Prime Minister: Who Are the Candidates to Succeed Yoshihide Suga?". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Fumio Kishida: Japan's new prime minister takes office". BBC News. 4 October 2021.
  3. ^ Sugiyama, Satoshi (8 October 2021). "Kishida calls for new economic approach in first policy speech". The Japan Times. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  4. ^ Akimoto, Daisuke (7 September 2021). "The Arrival of Kishida Diplomacy?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Fumio Kishida". Kantei. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Abe Cabinet (Formed December 26, 2012)". The Japan Times. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  7. ^ 『核兵器のない世界へ』: 第一章 故郷・広島への想い
  8. ^ "[自民党総裁選]岸田さんこんな人…「勝つまで戦う」酒豪 : トピックス : ニュース". 読売新聞オンライン (in Japanese). 9 September 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Japan minister support staff 'put sex club on expenses'". BBC. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Sin, Walter (2 October 2021). "Fumio Kishida: Japan's ronin turned prime minister-designate". The Straits Times. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  11. ^ a b Reynolds, Isabel (20 July 2017). "Abe's Low-Key Foreign Minister Watched as Potential Rival". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  12. ^ a b c "Fumio Kishida: calm centrist picked as Japan's next prime minister". INQUIRER.net. Agence France-Presse. 29 September 2021. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Profiles of key ministers in Abe's new Cabinet". The Asahi Shimbun. 26 December 2012. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Profile: Foreign Minister Kishida boasts background in Okinawa affairs". House of Japan. 27 December 2012. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Abe elected premier, launches Cabinet". Daily Yomuiru Online. 26 December 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  16. ^ a b Bosack, Michael (9 July 2018). "Will Kishida Challenge Abe's Leadership?". Tokyo Review. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Kishida goes all out for Japan's top job". East Asia Forum. 11 September 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida set to take key ruling party post: NHK". Reuters. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  19. ^ Yoshida, Reiji (24 July 2018). "LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida says he won't run in party leadership election, leaving two-way race between Abe and Ishiba". The Japan Times. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Doubts grow in LDP over Fumio Kishida's ability to succeed Abe". The Japan Times. 20 July 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  21. ^ Sakaguchi, Yukihiro (26 June 2020). "Race to replace Abe threatens stability of Japanese politics". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  22. ^ Bosack, Michael MacArthur (16 September 2020). "Breaking down Suga's picks for his first Cabinet". The Japan Times. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  23. ^ Ogura, Junko; Wang, Selina; Regan, Helen (29 September 2021). "Fumio Kishida expected to become Japan's next Prime Minister after ruling party vote". CNN. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  24. ^ Sim, Walter (4 October 2021). "Who's who in Cabinet of Japan's new PM Fumio Kishida". The Straits Times. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  25. ^ Lies, Elaine (3 October 2021). "In surprise move, new Japan PM to call Oct 31 election - NHK". Reuters.
  26. ^ "Japan's new PM promises to do his utmost to end COVID-19 crisis". Al Jazeera. 8 October 2021. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Factbox: Possible candidates to become Japan's next prime minister". Reuters. 3 September 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  28. ^ a b c d "The Arrival of Kishida Diplomacy?". The Diplomat. 7 September 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  29. ^ "Fumio Kishida, top contender to lead Japan, warns Taiwan is 'next big problem'". The Japan Times. 3 September 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  30. ^ Zakowski, Karol (31 December 2011). "Kochikai of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party and Its Evolution After the Cold War". Korean Journal of International Studies. 9 (2): 179–205. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  31. ^ "Abe's reshuffle promotes right-wingers". Korea Joongang Daily. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  32. ^ Slodkowski, Antoni (29 September 2021). "What to watch for in Japan's leadership vote Wednesday". Reuters. Retrieved 7 October 2021. Four candidates are in the running to lead the Liberal Democratic Party, including the popular vaccine minister Taro Kono, 58, and the centrist ex-foreign minister Fumio Kishida.
  33. ^ a b "Kishida says new form of capitalism needed to end disparity, recover from pandemic". Asahi Shimbun. 8 September 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  34. ^ Inagaki, Kana; Lewis, Leo (15 October 2021). "Fumio Kishida pledges to steer Japan away from Abenomics". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  35. ^ "LDP candidate Kishida favors debate toward separate surnames for Japanese couples". Mainichi Daily News. 16 September 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  36. ^ Yamaguchi, Mari (30 May 2017). "Japan urges China to do more to pressure North Korea". Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  37. ^ "Japan PM hopefuls seek summit with North Korea on abduction issue". Kyodo News. 20 September 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  38. ^ Landers, Peter (7 September 2021). "Japan Prime Minister Contender Takes Harder Line on Missile-Strike Ability". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  39. ^ "Japan's new PM, wife maintain closeness despite long distance". Kyodo News+. 4 October 2021. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  40. ^ Lewis, Leo (2 October 2021). "Kishida will need to defy the odds of Japanese political longevity". Financial Times.
  41. ^ Liu, Narayan (3 October 2021). "Japan's New Prime Minister Is a Demon Slayer Fan, Plans to Support Manga and Anime". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  42. ^ Decoraties Staatsbezoeken Japan en Republiek Korea Archived 4 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine - website of the Dutch Royal House

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minister of Defense

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Prime Minister of Japan
Party political offices
Preceded by
President of the Liberal Democratic Party