Fumio Kishida, Japan’s Prime Minister, has defied some predictions and secured a comfortable majority in Sunday’s parliamentary election. Kishida, who has been head of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) for only a few weeks, secured 259 seats of the 465-member lower house, as a result giving his party an absolute majority and control over parliamentary committees. The junior partner in the LDP’s coalition, Komeito, also won 32 seats. The combined total of 291 is well above the 233 majority Kishida had aimed for.
There had been fears that with Kishida only being at the wheel a short time, his time as Prime Minister would be brief. However, with these results, (endorsed by the market with the Nikkei soaring over 2.6%) Kishida will be able to put a stamp on his own policies in an upper house election next summer.
The immediate task facing the PM is to show that he is more a man of the people than predecessor Suga, who’s approach to the pandemic measures lead to the LDP having an all-time low approval rating of less than 32%. Kishida has repeatedly stressed his determination to listen to the people and address criticism that the nine years of leadership by Suga and predecessor Shinzo Abe, who were accused of complacency and an increasingly high-handed approach to governing, are a thing of the past.
After the result the leader of Japan's main opposition party announced he will step down from his post. Yukio Edano said in a statement Tuesday he will resign as leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party, the left-leaning party he's run since its formation in 2017. He will stay on until after a special parliamentary session expected later this month.
There was also the first major commitment from global leaders at COP26. Countries representing 85% of the world's forests, over 100 of them, gave themselves nine years to halt and reverse deforestation. All the countries with vast forests, including Canada, Russia, Indonesia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of course Brazil will sign the pledge today, which will be backed by nearly USD20bn in both private and public funding.