In August 2017, Shinzo Abe, then in the fifth year of his second tenure as Japan’s prime minister, reshuffled his cabinet in a bid to stabilize falling approval ratings. Among the changes he made was to name Fumio Kishida, who had served as foreign minister since December 2012, as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) policy chief.
Shortly after assuming the new post, which coordinates policy between the government and ruling party, Kishida sought to distance himself from the prime minister whose cabinet he had just left. “Prime Minister Abe and I were elected to the House of Representatives at the same time, and we’ve been personally extremely close,” he said. “However, if you speak plainly about our philosophies and beliefs as politicians, the prime minister is conservative, dare I say hawkish. I am liberal, dovish.”
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