HomePoliticsFOCUS: Japan PM Kishida...

FOCUS: Japan PM Kishida may seek conservative support by reshuffling Cabinet

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet reshuffle, planned after attending ASEAN-related and Group of 20 summits, may be aimed at obtaining solid support from conservatives within his Liberal Democratic Party, analysts said.

Kishida is expected to revamp his Cabinet next Wednesday, at a time when China has lambasted Japan’s discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, further straining their already fragile ties.

While trying to freshen up the image of his government to shore up his popularity, Kishida, known as a dovish moderate, has become eager to bolster his political foundation by offering key Cabinet posts to conservative LDP lawmakers who are known for their anti-China views.

If Kishida can enjoy backing from conservatives, who have traditionally put more emphasis on relations with the United States than on those with Communist-led China, he might be confident in calling a snap election later this year, sources close to him said.

“Kishida does not have strong leadership ability, but he has managed to maintain a balance in the allocation of posts and policy orientation to avoid criticism within the ruling party,” said Shiro Sakaiya, a professor in Japanese politics at the University of Tokyo.

Other analysts said Kishida is likely to attempt to tap more hawkish lawmakers who are critical of China as Cabinet members.

On Aug. 24, Japan started releasing the treated water from the Fukushima nuclear complex despite harsh opposition from China. Immediately after the beginning of the discharge, Beijing retaliated by imposing a blanket ban on Japanese seafood imports.

In China, anti-Japan sentiment has been on the rise since the water release. Over the past weeks, there has been a flood of nuisance phone calls that appeared to originate from China, along with online appeals to boycott Japanese products.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (2nd from R) attends the first day of the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi, India, on Sept. 9, 2023. (Pool photo) (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Japanese schools in China have experienced harassment, including incidents of stones and eggs being thrown onto their grounds. Despite Kishida’s desire to mend ties with the neighboring country, anti-China sentiment has instead been mounting in Japan.

In November last year, Kishida agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping to seek “constructive and stable” bilateral relations at their meeting in Bangkok, the first face-to-face Sino-Japanese summit since December 2019.

During a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related and G-20 summits, Kishida, who embarked on a one-week trip to Indonesia and India from Tuesday, conveyed assurances to other leaders about the safety of the water discharge.

But he apparently failed to gain concessions on the issue from Premier Li Qiang, who participated in the gatherings as a representative of China.

Japan has criticized China’s seafood ban, while Beijing has insisted the disposal of “nuclear-contaminated water” from the plant, which suffered meltdowns after the devastating March 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, would harm the marine environment and human health.

Such a situation is reminiscent of the past, dating back to September 2012 when tensions between Tokyo and Beijing erupted after the Japanese government of then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda brought the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea under state control.

The group of uninhabited islets, called Diaoyu in Chinese, is administrated by Japan but claimed by China. The decision by Noda, predecessor of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, sparked anti-Japanese protests across China.

Following Tokyo’s purchase of the Senkakus, a large number of Chinese people burned Japanese flags. Many Japanese living in China were forced to refrain from speaking their language in public.

In December 2012, Abe, known as a hawkish politician who pursued close ties with the United States, staged a comeback as Japan’s premier. He adopted a hard-line approach against China, garnering support from conservative lawmakers within the ruling party.

With an eye on challenging China’s expanding regional influence, Abe advocated a vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” to get closer to other democracies such as the United States and India, said Yoshihide Soeya, a professor emeritus of political science at Keio University in Tokyo.

Even after stepping down in 2020, Abe, who once was also prime minister for one year from 2006, became the head of the biggest faction within the LDP, retaining clout over the political arena until he was fatally shot during an election campaign speech in 2022.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving premier, took a “tough posture” against China, which was “welcomed” by the Japanese electorate, an LDP lawmaker said.

Recently, Kishida has also concentrated on deepening security cooperation with the United States to counter China’s military assertiveness while striving to improve relations with South Korea to tackle missile and nuclear weapon threats from North Korea.

In August, Kishida held a trilateral summit with U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. The meeting took place at the U.S. presidential retreat of Camp David near Washington, with the three leaders pitching their rapport.

Kishida is certain to take a firmer position against China while strengthening Japan’s ties with the United States and its other allies, believing that the move can be employed with the same political strategy as Abe, the lawmaker said.

Other pundits echoed the view, saying Kishida might try to utilize the envisioned Cabinet reshuffle as a window of opportunity to increase support from conservative lawmakers and voters before dissolving the House of Representatives in the near future.

Kishida, who took office in October 2021, has explored the best timing to win a general election to consolidate his political base, as he has been keen to be re-elected as LDP leader. The next LDP presidential race is scheduled in September 2024.

Japan’s escalating tensions with China over the treated water being released from the Fukushima plant will probably give a boost to support for Kishida at home, given the growing backlash against Beijing’s aggressive behavior, the pundits said.

Skepticism, however, is rife about whether the Cabinet reshuffle will help the Kishida government to regain popularity, with opposition parties bashing his lackluster policies.

If Kishida “fundamentally reflects on and reconsiders the policies of his administration, I have expectations” for the Cabinet reshuffle, said Akira Koike, head of the secretariat of the Japanese Communist Party, adding, “Otherwise, I do not have much hope.”

Approval ratings for Kishida’s Cabinet have continued to slip against a backdrop of the Fukushima water discharge and a spate of registration errors and other administrative troubles over the “My Number” national identification card system.

Related coverage:

Japan PM Kishida plans to reshuffle Cabinet on Sept. 13

Toshimitsu Motegi,Taro Aso likely to be retained in LDP executive reshuffle

Source link

Most Popular


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

Team India Squad for T20 World Cup 2024 Announced: Here’s India’s official team for T20 WC – Republic World

India T20 World Cup squad announcement | Image:APTeam India's squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2024 has been announced. On Tuesday, the selection committee led by chief selector Ajit Agarkar convened in Ahmedabad and zeroed in on a 15-member unit, which they deem is the...

Justice Minallah says state has to protect judges, independence of judiciary

Justice Athar Minallah on Tuesday said the state had to protect the judges and the judiciary’s independence as the Supreme Court took up a suo motu case pertaining to allegations of interference in judicial affairs.A six-member bench resumed...

Stock futures slip slightly as investors look ahead to Fed decision, megacap earnings: Live updates

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on February 29, 2024 in New York City. Michael M. Santiago | Getty ImagesU.S. stock futures fell slightly Tuesday morning after a positive start to the week, as investors brace for megacap earnings,...

Europe’s Economic Laggards Have Become Its Leaders

Something extraordinary is happening to the European economy: Southern nations that nearly broke up the euro currency bloc during the financial crisis in 2012 are growing faster than Germany and other big countries that have long served as the region’s growth engines.The dynamic is bolstering the...

Trump’s Plans for the Fed Make No Sense, Even for Him

A second Trump administration might be very different from the first, and that includes how the president treats the Fed. Donald Trump complained a lot about the US Federal Reserve when he was president, jawboning for lower interest rates and questioning its competence. Yet at the...

Police to launch raids to find migrants to deport to Rwanda, Cabinet Minister claims

Police will mount raids to find missing migrants so they can be deported to Rwanda, a Cabinet minister has said.Health Secretary Victoria Atkins was commenting on reports that the Home Office has lost contact with thousands of people who are set to be removed from the...

The French #Metoo Scandal Unraveling in Weinstein’s Shadow

French actor Gérard Depardieu was ordered to stand trial for allegedly sexually assaulting two women on a film set three years ago, marking the latest legal escalation for the 75-year-old movie star who has become a central figure in France’s #MeToo movement.The announcement coincides with a...

Hong Kong Bitcoin and Ether ETFs Have Soft Debut

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired...

Customization Overview | Halo Infinite CU32

Operation: Banished Honor arrives on April 30 and you’re gonna want to look the part! After all, the Banished welcome all who pledge their service to Atriox, and your new allegiance and mindset demands a new outfit, so let’s find out more about the customization that...

T20 World Cup 2024 Squads: From India To Australia, Check Here Team-Wise Full Players List, Venues, Fixture, Timings And More

ICC T20 World Cup 2024 Cricket Matches Full Schedule: The T20 World Cup 2024 promises to be an exhilarating showcase of cricketing talent from around the globe. With teams from various nations competing for the prestigious title, fans can expect intense matches filled with thrilling moments...

How the Twins’ summer sausage celebration got made: It sparked the offense, but should they eat it?

CHICAGO — With Abe Froman unavailable, I called sausage expert Elias Cairo to address Rocco Baldelli’s concerns about a potentially hazardous pre-encased meat currently residing in the Minnesota Twins clubhouse.Nearly a week after it arrived and with the package showing visible signs of wear, tear and...