All national papers reported extensively on the official start on Tuesday of the ruling LDP’s presidential election campaign, noting that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga appears to be enjoying a comfortable lead over former Secretary General Ishiba and former Foreign Minister Kishida. As many as 80% of the 394 LDP parliamentarians are likely to vote for the government spokesman in the election next Monday. Suga reportedly advocates continuing Prime Minister Abe’s policies, while Ishiba is calling for a “great reset” and Kishida reportedly underscores that he will strive to modify the policies.
Yomiuri wrote that during a policy debate between the three candidates yesterday, CCS Suga played it safe in explaining his policy goals on the diplomatic and security fronts. He reportedly emphasized that he will maintain Abe’s approach of treating the U.S.-Japan security alliance as the cornerstone of his administration’s foreign policy and promoting the free and open Indo-Pacific initiative. With regard to growing calls for the SDF to acquire capabilities to strike enemy bases, Suga simply stated that he will carefully monitor the ruling party’s discussions. As Ishiba and Kishida are well known for their expertise on international and security affairs, the government spokesman was apparently careful to avoid taking risks when commenting on these subjects.