EDITORIAL | A host of national crises confront Kishida’s revamped cabinet

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s second cabinet is now inaugurated.

Following a reshuffling of leadership positions, Katsunobu Kato is minister of health, labor and social affairs for the third time, and Yasukazu Hamada is minister of defense for the second time. The revamped range reflects Kishida’s emphasis on hands-on experience and the ability to get the job done.

Kishida retains Hirokazu Matsuno as Chief Cabinet Secretary, while Yasutoshi Nishimura replaces Koichi Hagiuda as Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. Hagiuda is rising to the leadership position of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Policy Research Council. All three belong to the party’s largest faction, led by the late former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot dead by an assassin in July.

As well as treating the larger intra-party faction favorably as he consolidates his political power base, Prime Minister Kishida has shown strength and dexterity in luring two former rivals into the cabinet. Sanae Takaichi (economic security) and Taro Kono (digital transformation) faced off against Kishida in the LDP leadership contest in the fall of 2021.

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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and members of his Cabinet attend their first meeting of the new Cabinet at the Prime Minister’s Residence on October 10, 2022 (Photo by Akihiko Otsuka)

Religion, politics behind the reshuffle

Concerns existed over rumors of links between LDP politicians and the Federation of Families for World Peace and Unification, better known as the Unification Church (or “Moonies”). This was thought to have been a factor in the alarming drop in public approval ratings for Kishida’s administration.

In early August, Mr Kishida instructed all cabinet members and senior LDP leaders to “verify and examine thoroughly for yourselves” any links to the religious group. He then demanded that they cut any ties that might exist with the Unification Church.

The LDP and its leaders must seriously take to heart the fact that accepting electoral support from groups that have victimized so many through psychological deception and mass mass marriages can only cause the public to lose confidence.

At the same time, care must be taken not to violate the religious freedom of candidates and electoral activists or to exclude certain religions. Seizing this opportunity, the Diet should openly discuss the relationship between politics and religion from the grassroots.

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China televises ballistic missile launches in “training” areas around Taiwan and in Japan’s EEZ. August 4, 2022. Photo by Weibo.

Respond quickly to national crises

The revamped Cabinet faces a host of domestic crises, including soaring prices, growing tensions between the Western camp and Russia due to Russia’s protracted war against Ukraine, and the seventh wave of COVID infections. -19 in progress.

China’s military maneuvers, in particular, following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, have shaken the peace and stability of the East Asian region. East.

China has launched five missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone off Okinawa as part of the intensified military drills. In response to Japan’s protest against the missile launches, a Beijing diplomat hit out at verbal abuse, saying, “Japan has no right to say anything about this.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who retained his top diplomat seat during the cabinet reshuffle, is widely known for his pro-China stance. Does he think it’s okay to let things go? The new cabinet is urged to immediately convene the National Security Council to determine how Japan should respond to China’s aggression.

The revision of the Constitution is another pressing issue. Prime Minister Kishida has officially declared that he will address the revision of the Constitution, in line with the strong wishes of the late former Prime Minister Abe.

Now is the time for the Kishida Cabinet and the LDP to act in unison and move forward and achieve concrete progress.

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(Read the editorial in Japanese on this link.)

Author: editorial board, The Sankei Shimbun

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