Japan Data

LDP Election: The Politicians Who Might Become Japan’s Next Prime Minister

Politics Society Economy

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s decision to sit out the upcoming Liberal Democratic Party presidential election means that the party will have a new leader—and Japan a new premier—going into the next general election.

The winner of the Liberal Democratic Party leadership vote on September 29 will become Japan’s next prime minister and face an immediate test in the next general election. Below are profiles of five politicians who have declared their candidacy or are considered likely to do so.

Kishida Fumio

Current position  
Birthday (age) July 29, 1957 (64)
Place of birth Shibuya, Tokyo
Education Waseda University (law)
Career before entering national politics Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan
Constituency (number of times elected) Hiroshima 1 (9)
Faction Kishida (Fumio)
Important experience Chair of LDP Policy Research Council; Foreign minister; Minister for consumer affairs/space policy
Other notes Announced his candidacy on August 26. Initially expressed an intention to run in the September 2018 leadership contest, but withdrew to support Abe Shinzō. Received 89 of 535 votes overall in the September 2020 contest won by Suga Yoshihide.
LDP member page https://www.jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114679.html

Takaichi Sanae

Current position  
Birthday (age) March 7, 1961 (60)
Place of birth Nara Prefecture
Education Kobe University (business administration)
Career before entering national politics Graduated from the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management.
Constituency (number of times elected) Nara 2 (8)
Faction None
Important experience Minister of state for the social security and tax number system; Minister for internal affairs and communications; Chair of LDP Policy Research Council
Other notes Announced her candidacy in the September issue of Bungei Shunjū, published on August 10.
LDP member page https://www.jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114772.html

Kōno Tarō

Current position Minister in charge of administrative/civil service reform; Minister of state for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs/regulatory reform
Birthday (age) January 10, 1963 (58)
Place of birth Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture
Education School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, United States
Career before entering national politics Fuji Xerox, Nippon Tanshi
Constituency (number of times elected) Kanagawa 15 (8)
Faction Asō (Tarō)
Important experience Defense minister; Foreign minister
Other notes Ran in the LDP presidential race of 2009, following the party’s election defeat, calling for a generational change in leadership (he was then 46), but finished second to Tanigaki Sadakazu.
LDP member page https://www.jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114689.html

Noda Seiko

Current position Executive acting secretary-general of the LDP
Birthday (age) September 3, 1960 (61)
Place of birth Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka Prefecture
Education Sophia University (foreign studies)
Career before entering national politics Imperial Hotel, Gifu Prefectural Assembly
Constituency (number of times elected) Gifu 1 (9)
Faction None
Important experience Chair of the House of Representatives budget committee; Minister for international affairs and communications
Other notes Previously expressed an interest in running for LDP president on three occasions, but each time was unable to secure the 20 nominations required.
LDP member page https://www.jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114734.html

Ishiba Shigeru

Current position  
Birthday (age) February 4, 1957 (64)
Place of birth Yazu, Tottori Prefecture
Education Keiō University (law)
Career before entering national politics Mitsui Bank
Constituency (number of times elected) Tottori 1 (11)
Faction Ishiba (Shigeru)
Important experience Minister of defense; Minister of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries; Chair of LDP Policy Research Council
Other notes Previously ran for LDP president three times. Won more votes among rank-and-file party members in 2012, but lost the deciding vote among lawmakers to Abe Shinzō. Performed creditably in the September 2018 leadership contest, winning 254 votes compared with Abe’s 553. Finished third in the 2020 race behind Suga Yoshihide and Kishida Fumio.
LDP member page https://www.jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114650.html

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: From left to right: Kishida Fumio, Takaichi Sanae, Kōno Tarō, Noda Seiko, Ishiba Shigeru. © Jiji.)

Ishiba Shigeru prime minister Kishida Fumio Noda Seiko Kōno Tarō Takaichi Sanae