Japan’s ‘vaccine minister’ runs for prime minister

Japan's vaccine minister runs for prime minister - Photo 1.

Public Administration Reform Minister Kono Taro announced his intention to run for the presidency of the LDP on September 10 – Photo: REUTERS

Mr. Kono is currently the minister in charge of administrative reform, but due to the additional task of implementing the COVID-19 vaccine campaign, he is often referred to as the “vaccine minister”.

“I will run for the presidency of the LDP,” Kono announced at a ceremony held on the afternoon of September 10 in Tokyo. Since the LDP has a majority in the House of Representatives, the head of the LDP will automatically become the Japanese prime minister.

Mr. Kono is the third person in the LDP to officially announce his candidacy for party chairman, after former foreign minister Kishida Fumio and former interior minister Takaichi Sanae.

During the announcement of his election decision, Mr. Kono pledged to become an empathetic leader who would “smile and cry together” with the Japanese people. He also promised to work towards creating a “warm” country where everyone who works hard has a chance to succeed.

According to Reuters news agency, reporters attending the event were given a two-page brochure outlining the priorities on the agenda should Kono become prime minister.

Accordingly, Kono pledged to strengthen Japan’s deterrence against “unilateral efforts to change the status quo”, referring to China’s behavior in the East and South China Seas.

Candidate Kono is considered a person who understands deeply about the US-Japan alliance relationship. He graduated from Georgetown University (USA) and became foreign minister, then defense minister under Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

According to Western media, Mr. Kono is supported by the majority of young Japanese people with a Twitter account of more than 2.3 million followers.

Regarding tackling the COVID-19 epidemic, candidate Kono pledged to continue the fight against the virus and improve people’s health with booster shots.

The winner of the LDP presidential election on September 29 will not have much time to celebrate. This person will have to prepare a strategy to lead the LDP in the general election scheduled to take place at the end of November.


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