Japanese PM candidate seeks cooperation for tackling China

Tokyo, Sep 13 (EFE).- Former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida, a prime ministerial candidate seeking to lead the country’s ruling party in the next elections, said on Monday that he would aim to revamp economic policies and cooperate with other nations to deal with the potential challenges posed by China and North Korea.

The lawmaker is one of the three candidates in the fray in the primaries of the Liberal Democratic Party – set to be held on Sep. 29 – which will decide the party’s prime ministerial nominee.

Incumbent Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has announced that he would not be seeking reelection and another term as party chief.

In Japan, the leader of the ruling party occupies the post of prime minister, which means that the newly elected president of the LDP will head the country until the next election, set to be held before November.

Kishida, 64, announced the key points of his agenda in a press conference held at Tokyo’s Foreign Correspondents Club, including measures to deal with Covid-19, an economic overhaul that seeks to go beyond “Abenomics” (the policies adopted by former PM Shinzo Abe after assuming power in 2019), and seeking cooperation to strengthen Japan’s international stature.

The former minister, who has already presented his proposals in the parliament, said that the current economic policies, despite having helped growth, had created socioeconomic disparity that was further increased by the pandemic and has to addressed.

Kishida highlighted the sensitive nature of Tokyo’s ties with Beijing – which has increased its military presence in regional waters and near the disputed Senkaku islands (administered by Japan) –  although insisting that dialog had to be continued with the neighboring country.

He added that Japan had to think about how to respond to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, without directly opposing the project.

A native of Hiroshima, from where he has been reelected to the parliament continuously since 1993, Kishida also discussed his position towards the nuclear question.

The leader intends to continue the current government policy by utilizing the nuclear reactors confirmed to be safe while aiming to achieve decarbonization by 2050.

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