September 27, 2023

Why Kishida is unlikely to improve Japan’s ties with the two Koreas

New Japanese prime minister unlikely to break through Tokyo's disillusionment with Seoul and disinterest in Pyongyang

Fumio Kishida recently became Japan’s 100th prime minister, and his election has kick-started debate about whether the new leader will inaugurate a different era in relations between Tokyo and the two Koreas.

Japan has a dominant-party system, but the factions within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) are roughly analogous to parties in more conventional democracies. When it comes to foreign policy issues, Kishida belongs to the “doves” who have demonstrated significant interest in the Korean Peninsula, unlike his hawkish predecessors.