Economic Security Minister Sanae Takaichi has not been bashful about her ambitions to succeed Fumio Kishida as Japan’s prime minister.
Following a surprise endorsement from Shinzo Abe in the Liberal Democratic Party’s last presidential race, in 2021, the staunchly conservative Takaichi went from a long shot to runner-up. After losing to Kishida, Takaichi took it in stride, stating that she had every intention to be the next in line. On Wednesday, she made her following move.
With Kishida’s approval rating tumbling below 30%, considered the "danger zone," Takaichi has taken a practical step towards realizing her goal of winning the country’s top job by launching a study group of like-minded politicians, called "Japan Power," ostensibly to discuss matters related to foreign policy, security and the economy. In reality, these kinds of study groups are vehicles for building support for select politicians — and Takaichi's move comes less than a year ahead of the next scheduled LDP presidential race.