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Japanese Prime Minister Highlights Diplomatic Achievements at G7; Domestic problems are becoming increasingly difficult to solve

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida answers questions from reporters after the Group of Seven summit in Apulia, southern Italy, on Saturday afternoon.

GROTTAGLIE, Italy — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made his presence felt in discussions on economic security and other issues at the Group of Seven summit held in Italy on Thursday and Friday, building on his performance from the previous G7 meeting in Hiroshima.

Kishida hopes to highlight his record in diplomacy, an area in which he excels, but Japan’s domestic affairs are becoming increasingly difficult to handle. This week’s parliamentary deliberations will be crucial for the Prime Minister as discussions are expected to become heated over issues including a bill to revise the Political Funds Control Act.

“We were able to carry forward the results of the G7 summit in Hiroshima to the final meeting. It was a meaningful summit,” Kishida told reporters on Saturday afternoon, highlighting his diplomatic achievements at an airport in Apulia, southern Italy.

Kishida was the keynote speaker at a session on the Indo-Pacific and economic security on Friday. He delivered an opening statement for the session, raising issues such as increased military cooperation between Russia and North Korea and China’s restrictions on exports of key minerals such as gallium, used to make semiconductors.

The G7 Leaders’ Communique criticized military cooperation between Russia and North Korea and called on China to refrain from taking export control measures.

After the discussions, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised Kishida’s contributions, saying economic security issues came into the spotlight after Japan raised them at last year’s summit in Hiroshima.

The G7 summit in Italy was attended by the same dignitaries as the meeting in Hiroshima, where Kishida chaired. “Kishida was able to delve deeply into discussion topics from the beginning because the members knew each other well,” said an official accompanying the prime minister.

One of the leaders who attended the G7 summit praised Kishida as the first leader in Asia to speak out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and make it a global issue. Others said Kishida’s speech to the U.S. Congress in April appeared to have helped the U.S. Congress pass a package of foreign aid for Ukraine and other regions.

Kishida served as foreign minister for four years and seven months, the second-longest term in post-war Japan. “The harder he works in diplomacy, the more energetic he becomes,” said an aide close to Kishida.

Kishida, who is also chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was expected to return to Japan on Sunday and focus all his efforts on handling diet matters. With a week to go until the end of the current parliamentary session on June 23, discussions on political reforms and the handling of a vote of no confidence against the Kishida cabinet will be the focus.

Leaders of political parties will hold a parliamentary debate session for the first time under Kishida’s cabinet on Wednesday. The opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is increasingly taking action against the government and plans to submit a vote of no confidence against the cabinet.

CDPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada told reporters in Tsu on Saturday: “The entire cabinet must resign or the House of Representatives must be dissolved.” The CDPJ will make a final decision on the motion based on the upcoming parliamentary deliberations and the debate among party leaders.

Another uncertain factor is how Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) will deal with the revision bill of the Political Funds Control Act submitted by the LDP to the lower house. Ishin supported the bill in the lower house, but suggested it could vote against the bill in the House of Councilors unless the reform of a monthly allowance for lawmakers, which Kishida and Ishin leader Nobuyuki Baba agreed on, during the current session of parliament is realised.

The allowance is given to lawmakers for research, study, public relations and accommodation and was previously known as document, correspondence, travel and subsistence expenses.

Resolving the issue “all comes down to Kishida’s decision,” a senior LDP member said.

“I will continue to make every effort to pass the revision law,” Kishida told reporters. Regarding the allowance in question, he said: “I would like to deal with the matter in a cordial manner according to the agreement with Ishin.”



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