Newly elected Liberal Democratic Party President Fumio Kishida, who is on course to become the next prime minister, has pledged that he will shift Japan away from neoliberalism — the pillar of the country's economic policy for nearly two decades.

Pointing to widening income inequality, Kishida, who still needs to win the upcoming Lower House election to ensure he stays on as the country's leader, has set as his priorities the redistribution of wealth and boosting people’s wages so more people can join the middle class.

But with his predecessors — Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga — having tried to get companies to raise wages without success, economists are skeptical, saying it is unclear how Kishida will finance and implement the kind of policies that would assist with that goal.