Kishida’s rough road
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida faces several serious challenges. He must boost his country’s economy by protecting relations with both the United States and China. That means preparing his government for the risk that Donald Trump, the most confrontational of post-war presidents, will be elected president again next November. It also means resolving political and economic differences with Beijing outside the public eye.
But Kishida also faces a rough road at home. In particular, he must manage the fallout from a campaign finance scandal that has tarnished several senior members of his Liberal Democratic Party, aka LDP. We’re watching to see if Kishida fires some or all of those people from his government this week. We’re also tracking the impact of this scandal on his plummeting approval rating, which stands at 23%, according to Japan’s NHK. That’s the lowest score of his nearly 26 months on the job.
Continuing divisions within the opposition will likely keep the LDP in power for the foreseeable future. But Kishida’s future is far less clear. Failure to take forceful action could open up a power struggle within the party that could cost him a party leadership vote scheduled for September.