Fumio Kishida is Japan’s next Prime Minister
Japan’s former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has won the governing party leadership election and is set to be become the next prime minister.
The 64-year-old won the ruling party's leadership vote on Wednesday, beating popular vaccine chief Taro Kono to finally clinch a job he has long targeted.
Kishida replaces outgoing party leader Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down after serving only one year since taking office last September.
It was second time lucky for the experienced politician: he lost out in 2020 to Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down after just a year as prime minister.
Kishida is widely regarded as a safe pair of hands, despite a low-key presence that has sometimes been characterised as a lack of charisma.
He has pledged to spend big on new pandemic stimulus while vowing to tackle income inequality and move away from the neo-liberal economics that have dominated Japanese politics for the past two decades.
And seeking to set himself apart from the unpopular pandemic response of Suga's government, he has emphasised the lessons learned from his failure to win the leadership last time around.
"I wasn't good enough. I think I didn't have enough conviction," he admitted when he launched his campaign earlier this month.
As new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, Kishida is certain to be elected the next prime minister on Monday in parliament, where his party and coalition partner control the house.
Kishida beat Taro Kono, the vaccinations minister, in a runoff after moving ahead of two female candidates Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda in the first round.