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Scholars discuss reasons for strong public support for Kishida

The weekly magazine Shukan Asahi carried a discussion between University of Tokyo Professor emeritus Mikuriya Takashi and Open University of Japan Professor Matsubara Ryuichiro, in which they speculated on the reasons for strong public support for Prime Minister Kishida and his cabinet. Matsubara argued that although the public may have the impression that Kishida is doing very well in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, he is practically doing nothing new and only following in the steps of his predecessor Suga, pointing out that Suga successfully mobilized bureaucrats across the Ministries of Health and Internal Affairs to achieve the government’s goal of administering 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines per day. Mikuriya agreed with Matsubara by saying that Kishida is very lucky because he took the post of prime minister after Suga and the public’s attention has been shifting from COVID-19 to Ukraine. Matsubara also argued that Kishida will be tested on how to shift his security and economic policies away from those of Abe’s, pointing out that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is helping Kishida to alter Japan’s policy on Moscow from former Prime Minister Abe’s conciliatory approach to the Putin-led Russia. Speculating that the Bank of Japan may alter the policies introduced in 2013 and later to achieve the price stability target of 2%, Matsubara said that these policy changes may help Kishida to prevent Abe from wielding influence over his administration.

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