© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on October 4, 2021. REUTERS / Issei Kato
By Antoni Slodkowski
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will dissolve its parliament on Thursday, setting the stage for an election at the end of the month that will pit new prime minister Fumio Kishida against an unpopular opposition in a battle over who can best fix the pandemic-hit economy.
Kishida enjoys reasonable public support after 11 days in office, polls show, well heralding his goal of maintaining a majority in the lower house for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner the Komeito party.
“I want to use the election to tell people what we are trying to do and what we aim for,” Kishida told reporters gathered in his office.
Reflecting on the past 11 days, Kishida said, “I’ve had a very busy schedule but strangely, I don’t feel tired, I feel satisfied.”
Voters will want to see a government with decisive action plans to end the pandemic and rebuild the economy. A recent Sankei newspaper poll showed that around 48% say they want the Kishida administration to do more work on the coronavirus, followed by the economic recovery and employment.
Kishida’s party is promoting its push for measures against the coronavirus, including supplying oral antiviral drugs this year, as well as its vision of realizing a “new capitalism” that focuses on economic growth and the redistribution of wealth.
The ruling party has also called for a sharp increase https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/with-an-eye-china-japans-ruling-party-makes-unprecedented-defence-spending-2021- 10 -13 in defense spending to acquire the ability to destroy ballistic missiles, amid China’s increasingly assertive stance on Taiwan.
The largest opposition party https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/main-parties-contesting-japans-lower-house-poll-2021-10-07, the Constitutional Democrats (CDPJ), led By Yukio Edano, has highlighted issues https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-politics/japans-largest-opposition-party-focuses-on-human-rights-in-party-platform-idUSKBN2H30MO?edition -redirect = in such as your support for same-sex marriage and different last names for couples.
The PLD remains socially conservative https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japan-shadow-shogun-abe-assured-clout-over-next-pm-kishida-2021-09-30 and, while progresses on LGBTQ rights in society, Kishida has said that he was not in favor of same-sex marriage.
The biggest challenge for Constitutional Democrats is their low support ratings. A recent poll by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper found that only 13% planned to vote for them, far behind the PLD’s 47%; most other polls record single digit support.
Counting in many districts is already underway, but the campaign will formally begin on October 16. 19, followed by the vote on October 19. 31. Kishida is expected to hold a press conference on Thursday evening.
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