Will the LDP Presidential Race Bring Lasting Change to Japan’s Ruling Party?

Suga’s unintended legacy may be catalyzing diversity – in terms of age and gender – within the LDP’s policy debates.
By Yuki Tatsumi Author

Originally published by The Diplomat Magazine in October 2021.

On September 29, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chose Kishida Fumio as it new leader.  Kishida will succeed Suga Yoshihide as Japan’s prime minister when the Japanese Diet convenes for its extraordinary session to select the new prime minister in October.

Suga’s surprise announcement on September 3 that he would not seek re-election when his term expired triggered a flurry of activity within the LDP.  The most obvious consequence was the LDP presidential race itself. Prior to Suga’s resignation, there were only a couple of obvious candidates who might run. The potential contenders included not only Kishida but also other familiar names, such as former defense and agricultural minister Ishiba Shigeru. There was even speculation that former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo might try to come back to power again, given that he is again eligible to run for the LDP presidency because he has been out of the position for the last year. But Suga’s resignation, coming as public support for his cabinet crumbled while he tried to implement the policies he inherited from Abe, generated momentum within the party to call for a more robust LDP presidential election.

Read the full article in the Diplomat Magazine.

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