Fumio Kishida is a Japanese politician serving as the Prime Minister of Japan and president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since 2021. A member of the House of Representatives, he previously served as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2017 and as acting Minister of Defense in 2017. From 2017 to 2020, he also chaired the LDP Policy Research Council.
Born into a political family, Kishida spent part of his childhood in the United States where he attended elementary school in New York City. After beginning his career in finance, Kishida entered politics and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1993 as a member of the LDP. Kishida was appointed to various posts in the cabinets of Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda from 2007 to 2008, and was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2012 after Abe regained the premiereship following the 2012 general election, serving for five years and becoming the longest-serving Foreign Affairs Minister in Japanese history. Kishida later resigned from the Abe cabinet in 2017 in order to head the LDP's Policy Research Council. Kishida also assumed control of the LDP's Kōchikai faction in 2012 following the death of former faction boss Makoto Koga.
Long considered a potential future prime minister, Kishida ran in the 2020 LDP leadership election, however he lost to Yoshihide Suga. He ran again for the party leadership in 2021, this time winning in a second round run-off against opponent Taro Kono. Kishida was confirmed as Prime Minister by the National Diet four days later on 4 October 2021 and led the LDP to victory in the 2021 general election later that same month. Kishida has been described as an ideological moderate within the LDP and has stated that his premiership will focus on a "new model of capitalism", by seeking to implement redistributive policies to expand the middle class, and will seek to strengthen the Quad Security Dialogue in pursuit of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific foreign policy.
Early life and education
Kishida was born to a political family in Shibuya, Tokyo, on 29 July 1957. His father Fumitake Kishida was a government official in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and director of The Small and Medium Enterprise Agency. Since the Kishida family was from Hiroshima, the family returned there every summer. Many members of the Kishida family had died in the atomic bombing and Fumio grew up hearing stories from the atomic bomb survivors. Both his father Fumitake and grandfather Masaki Kishida were former politicians who were members of the House of Representatives. Former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa is his cousin and former prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa is a distant relative of his.
He went to P.S. 013 Clement C. Moore elementary school in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens, New York, because his father was posted to a job in the U.S. at the time. He also attended Kōjimachi Elementary School and Kōjimachi Junior High School. Kishida graduated from Kaisei Academy, where he also played on the baseball team.
Following several rejections from the University of Tokyo, Kishida studied law at Waseda University and graduated in 1982. At Waseda, he was friends with future politician Takeshi Iwaya.
After working at now-defunct Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan and then as a secretary to a member of the House of Representatives, Kishida was elected to the House of Representatives in the 1993 general election, representing the Hiroshima 1st district.
Kishida served as Minister of Okinawa Affairs from 2007 to 2008, firstly in the Abe Cabinet and later in the Fukuda cabinet. He was appointed state minister in charge of consumer affairs and food safety in the cabinet of then prime minister Yasuo Fukuda in 2008. Kishida was also state minister in charge of science and technology in the Fukuda cabinet.
He was close to Makoto Koga, leader of the Kōchikai faction, one of the oldest inside the LDP, and assumed control of it in October 2012 after Makoto Koga announced his retirement from politics.
Following the LDP's victory in the 2012 general election, Kishida was named foreign minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on 26 December 2012. He became the longest-serving foreign minister in postwar history, surpassing Abe's father Shintaro Abe. He helped to arrange U.S. President Barack Obama's historic visit to Hiroshima in May 2016, and gained attention in 2017 when he appeared alongside comedian Piko Taro to promote a United Nations program.
He was not in favor of the appointment of Toshihiro Nikai as LDP secretary-general by Abe in 2016 against the wishes of Kishida's own faction, which was seen as an attempt at blocking generational change inside the LDP.
In 2017, Kishida left the Cabinet to take over the chairmanship of the LDP Policy Research Council, a position traditionally seen as a stepping stone to leadership of the party. He sought this position in order to improve his chances to succeed Abe, as the foreign minister post had relatively little influence within the party.
Kishida considered running in the 2018 LDP presidential election, but he was persuaded by Abe not to run, with a suggestion that Abe would later support Kishida as his successor. By mid-2020, several senior LDP lawmakers had shifted their support from Kishida to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso stimulus payment to households during the COVID-19 pandemic. After Suga won the 2020 LDP presidential election and became Prime Minister, Kishida was not offered a position in the Suga cabinet, although his faction obtained two cabinet seats.
Prime Minister of Japan
On 29 September 2021, Kishida defeated Taro Kono in a runoff vote to become the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and replaced outgoing party leader Yoshihide Suga. He received a total of 257 votes, from 249 parliament members and eight rank-and-file members, to become Japan's next Prime Minister. Kishida's Cabinet, which took office on 4 October 2021, consists of 21 members, including 13 who joined the Cabinet for the first time while also including 2 veterans, Toshimitsu Motegi and Nobuo Kishi who retained their respective posts from the previous cabinet under Suga. Kishida announced he would call a general election for 31 October 2021.
Kishida gave his first speech as prime minister on 8 October 2021, vowing to fight and end the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan as well as announcing measures to counter the perceived threats by China and North Korea.
Kishida is fond of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki as prepared by his wife Yuko Kishida, a daughter of a real estate businessman. They wed in an arranged marriage in 1988, and have three sons. In one presentation, Yuko was featured in the LDP messaging immediately after he became the de facto PM-designate. He is a drinker as well as an anime and manga fan. He is a well-known fan of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, with Akaza being his favourite character in the series. He has pledged to financially support the Japanese animation industry during his premiership. He is also a fan of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team.