Some observers have interpreted Japan’s effort to foster relationships with other security partners as a sign of fissures in the U.S.-Japan alliance.
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To champion his own policy agenda, Kishida will have to wait and see how much political capital he has after the next Upper House election.
There has been a widening gap between Japan and North Korea since Kim Jong Un took power and a hardening of policy stances on both sides.
The operative assumption from critics of the secrets legislation was that the new law would restrict freedom of information and make the Japanese government increasingly opaque.
It's unlikely Kishida will usher in drastic changes that have not already been gestating inside the LDP and Defense Ministry, but it will be important to see which items gain top priority.
The former prime minister now leads the biggest LDP faction, but that doesn’t automatically mean he will become kingmaker of the party
Japan and Australia reached a major milestone in their security relationship when, for the first time ever, the SDF executed an "asset protection" mission with a non-U.S. military unit.
Kishida picking Yoshimasa Hayashi to be the foreign minister was a great choice for him. Had Hayashi and others not pushed Kishida, he may not have sought the country's top leadership job.
When the counting stopped, the ruling coalition defied expectations — only losing a net total of 12 seats.
Abe waited until after the 2013 Upper House election to roll out his new National Security Strategy. The Kishida government will probably do the same.