In surprise move, Japan's new PM set to dissolve assembly: NHK - GulfToday

In surprise move, Japan's new PM set to dissolve assembly: NHK


Fumio Kishida casts his vote in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Japan’s parliament elected former foreign minister Fumio Kishida as the new prime minister on Monday.

Kishida replaces his predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, who resigned with his Cabinet earlier in the day. Kishida and his Cabinet will be sworn in later in the day.

Meanwhile, public broadcaster NHK said he was set to dissolve the body next week and call an election for Oct 31.


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The surprise move, amid widespread expectations for a poll in November, appears to be aimed at exploiting a traditional honeymoon period accorded to new governments and a sharp drop in the number of coronavirus infections.

Japan’s former prime minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during an event. File photo

Outgoing prime minister Yoshihide Suga enjoyed support ratings of about 70% soon after taking office about a year ago, but was pummelled by criticism of his handling of the pandemic, leading him to make way for a new face to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) through the election.

Kishida, who replaced Suga as head of the Liberal Democratic Party leader last week, is tasked with quickly tackling the pandemic and other domestic and global challenges and leading an imminent national election within weeks.

He is set to dissolve parliament on Oct. 14 and will announce the election in his first news conference as prime minister later on Monday, NHK television said.

The ruling party's new secretary-general, Akira Amari, told reporters that while he had not heard anything for certain, he believed Kishida would move in that direction.

"Kishida's not wasting any time at all," Tobias Harris, a senior fellow of the Center for American Progress, said on Twitter.

"October 31 puts the opposition on its heels, takes advantage of a honeymoon in the polls, plus a better chance of lower case numbers."