Japan's Prime Minister and ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the party headquarters in Tokyo, Nov 1, 2021, hours after his party kept a comfortable majority in Sunday's parliamentary election despite losing some seats. (RODRIGO REYES MARIN/POOL PHOTO VIA AP)
Japanese Premier Fumio Kishida vowed to act fast on his economic program after a surprisingly robust election win, saying he would seek to pass an extra budget as soon as possible and make clean energy investment a priority.
The premier said Monday tax breaks for companies that raise salaries would be stepped up and a panel to look into raising pay for nurses and others in the care-giving sector may be established as soon as next week.
The latest plans for dealing with the pandemic will be unveiled by the middle of the month, he told reporters in Tokyo at his first full news conference since the Sunday election.
Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party won an unexpectedly robust 261 seats in the 465-strong lower house of parliament, despite several polls showing the group that has led postwar Japan for decades would struggle to keep its majority.
Our country will take a lead in achieving zero emissions across Asia as a whole.
Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister, Japan
The result bolsters the former foreign minister’s chances of staying on as leader long enough to make his mark in a country known for its “revolving door” premiers. He faces an upper house election next year.
Kishida will make his debut on the global stage as premier Tuesday, when he flies to Glasgow for the COP26 climate talks.
“Our country will take a lead in achieving zero emissions across Asia as a whole,” he said. Kishida’s clean energy plans will include financial support for Asian countries, building out charging stations for electric vehicles and battery manufacturing.
The outcome of the vote was cheered by markets that saw it as removing political uncertainty. Stocks gained in Monday trading, with the benchmark Topix rising as much as 1.8 percent on the morning and the blue-chip Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbing more than 2 percent.
Kishida said the party must reflect on criticisms that emerged during the election. He added he would make a swift decision on whether to replace LDP Secretary General Akira Amari, who lost the race in his constituency, but was returned to parliament via a proportional representation system.
He also announced that the authorities will begin COVID-19 booster shots in December.
Kishida announced that emergency funding will come from government bonds. He also promised to consider reintroducing “Go To” travel subsidies, after safety reviews, and will debate cooperating with conservative Ishin party on individual policies.
HONG KONG NEWS