Takuma Kayo, professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University
Kishida Fumio served as minister of foreign affairs for many years. While serving as foreign minister, he has had exchanges with people such as U.S. President Joseph Biden and China’s State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi. As in-person diplomacy will be back again, he will benefit from the international reputation that he has built.
Amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, how he will deal with Beijing will become a focal point. His diplomatic skills will be put to the test in the upcoming Beijing Winter Games and when Japan and China will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic ties [next year]. As he has expressed a plan to create a new special advisor post dedicated to handling human rights issues, closer cooperation with the U.S. and Europe may lead to exacerbating Japan-China conflicts.
On national defense, he seems inclined to take a more realistic approach than his predecessors. He has proposed Japan consider possessing a capability to strike enemy bases and mentioned that revising the Self-Defense Forces Act should be considered to rescue Japanese nationals from Afghanistan. He also referred to how Japan should respond should a contingency occur in Taiwan. Whether he can actually put these visions into action needs to be closely watched.