Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba focused on the importance of building resilience to disasters as they campaigned in Kyoto on Saturday, dueling on the last weekend before the ruling party selects its leader for the next three years.
It was the first time the two candidates had delivered speeches together since campaigning for the Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election kicked off on Sept. 7.
At an LDP-organized event at a hotel in the city of Kyoto, Abe said he wants to “create a resilient Japan” that is prepared to cope with disasters like the flooding and landslides that devastated much of western Japan in July and the level 7 quake that rocked Hokkaido earlier this month.
Ishiba, a well-known proponent of the concept of disaster management, used his speech to emphasize that Japan needs to create an entity focused on that activity and called for establishing a so-called disaster ministry to that effect.
Abe, who is seeking his third three-year term as head of the LDP, is widely expected to wind the Sept. 20 contest, under current party rules.