TOKYO: With the approval rating of Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio’s cabinet plunging to new depths, observers of Japan are speculating who will be the next prime minister.
Foreign Minister KAMIKAWA Yoko has surged into the top three, according to a poll by TBS News.
When the respondents were asked who the next prime minister should be, veteran politician ISHIBA Shigeru came out on top with 18.4 percent, followed by the popular KOIZUMI Shinjiro at 14.3 percent – the son of former Prime Minister KOIZUMI Junichiro – and Foreign Minister Kamikawa at 9.5 percent.
Current Prime Minister Kishida came in seventh.
Japan has never had a female prime minister, and Kamikawa has proved herself to be capable, busy and quite visible since taking the post of Foreign Minister in September. She graduated from the University of Tokyo and studied in the US at Harvard.
Kamikawa’s popularity has been boosted by a derogatory comment by Deputy Prime Minister ASO Taro, who described the Foreign Minister as “an old lady,” who he would not say she was “that beautiful.”
Kamikawa was dismissive of Aso’s remarks, playing down her colleague’s comments, a tactic that drew praise from commentators. She replied: “I am aware that there are various opinions and ways of thinking in the world, but I will continue to work hard and remain completely dedicated and without looking aside.”
She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and served as Minister of State for Declining Birthrate and Gender Equality in 2007. She has served as Minister of Justice three times.
In January 2024, she launched a program called Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) that encourages the involvement of women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
The approval rating of Kishida’s cabinet fell yet again to 23.7 percent, its lowest rating to date, while the disapproval rating increased by 3.8 points from the January survey to 74.2 percent, the highest ever.