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Fumio Kishida

Fumio Kishida (岸田 文雄, Kishida Fumio, born 29 July 1957) is a Japanese politician serving as 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.[1] 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 premiership 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 retirement of 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.[2] 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.[3] 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. On foreign policy he plans to continue strengthening the Quad Security Dialogue in pursuit of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy.[4]

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Early life and education

Kishida was born to a political family in Shibuya, Tokyo, on 29 July 1957.[4][5][6] 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.[7] Both his father Fumitake and grandfather Masaki Kishida were former politicians who were members of the House of Representatives.[6] Former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa is his cousin[8][9] and former prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa is a distant relative of his.[6]

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.[1] He also attended Kōjimachi Elementary School and Kōjimachi Junior High School. Kishida graduated from Kaisei Academy, where he also played on the baseball team.[10]

Following several rejections from the University of Tokyo, Kishida studied law at Waseda University and graduated in 1982.[5][10] At Waseda, he was friends with future politician Takeshi Iwaya.[11][12]

Political career

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.[13]

Kishida served as Minister of Okinawa Affairs from 2007 to 2008, firstly in the Abe Cabinet and later in the Fukuda cabinet.[14] He was appointed state minister in charge of consumer affairs and food safety in the cabinet of then prime minister Yasuo Fukuda in 2008.[6] Kishida was also state minister in charge of science and technology in the Fukuda cabinet.[14]

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.[6]