Fumio Kishida becomes Japan's prime minister
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Fumio Kishida becomes Japan’s prime minister

Japan’s parliament on Monday voted Fumio Kishida the country’s next prime minister, with the new leader expected to announce a cabinet including both holdovers and fresh faces.

The soft-spoken scion of a Hiroshima political family, Kishida beat popular vaccine chief Taro Kono to win leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party last week.

He easily won a vote Monday in parliament’s lower house, where the LDP’s ruling coalition holds a commanding majority, taking 311 votes to the 124 for opposition leader Yukio Edano.

“This chamber names Mr. Fumio Kishida as the prime minister,” lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima declared after the vote.

The upper house will also vote but the lower house holds sway on the decision. The upper house also approved him in a vote shortly afterwards.

Kishida bowed to his fellow lawmakers after the vote, but did not immediately speak. Earlier, he told reporters he was ready for the top job.

“I think it will be a new start in its true sense,” he said.

“I want to take on challenges with a strong will and firm resolve to face the future.”

Kishida is widely considered a safe pair of hands, who commands support from his own faction within the LDP and is not expected to veer significantly from the government’s existing policies.

His election came after former prime minister Yoshihide Suga, who submitted his resignation on Monday morning, announced he would not stand for the LDP leadership after just one year in office.

Kishida will unveil his new cabinet shortly, but details reported in local media suggested he would keep on several ministers in key portfolios.

Both Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi will retain their jobs, local media reported.

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