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Japan’s ex-top diplomat, Fumio Kishida, set to become country's new prime minister

Fumio Kishida Japan presumptive Prime Minister
Posted at 12:18 AM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 07:59:36-04

Fumio Kishida has won the governing party leadership election for Japan's Liberal Democratic Party and is set to become the country's next prime minister.

Kishida is certain to be elected the next prime minister on Monday in parliament, where his party and coalition partner control the house.

Kishida beat Taro Kono, the vaccinations minister, in a runoff after moving ahead of two female candidates Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda in the first round.

Kishida previously served as Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, taking office alongside then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2012. He served in the role until 2017, becoming the longest-serving diplomat in the history of the position.

Kishida replaces outgoing party leader Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down after serving only one year since taking office last September.

During his short time in office, Suga was dogged with a COVID-19 outbreak that occurred amid a slow vaccine rollout and as the country hosted the Summer Olympics and the Paralympic Games. The country saw the highest case rates of the pandemic this summer.