Japanese prime minister to debate opponent ahead of LDP leadership elections

Japanese prime minister to debate opponent ahead of LDP leadership elections

Today, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party will hold a formal debate on its next leader. Incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan’s Prime Minister Abe claps during an election night event at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo

Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai

Today, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party will hold a formal debate on its next leader. Incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will square off against the party’s former Secretary General, Shigeru Ishiba.

Abe currently stands first in national polls and if reelected will be the first prime minister to serve three terms. He continues to gain support from municipal lawmaking assemblies, diminishing Ishiba’s chances of victory. For his part, the former defence minister has criticised Mr Abe for being absent during the party’s short election cycle, suggesting that this vote is important to the public at large and not just the electing party members.

In the likely event of PM’s reelection to the head of the ruling party on September 20, he will be pressured to follow through on his proposed economic policies to stimulate a country that is fiscally challenged by its ageing population. Among these are raising the retirement age for workers, redesigning social security and health care and continuing to keep the United States’ insistence on trade concessions at bay. If Abe is able to overcome pushback from Japan’s wide pacifist population and foreign actors like China and the US, he will facilitate a turn in Japan’s military and economic mobility.

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