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Japan’s Kishida says can show strength in economic, foreign policy fields

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese ruling party heavyweight Fumio Kishida, who has declared his candidacy for the party leadership, said on Tuesday he can show strength in the economic and foreign policy fields and he wants to be a leader who listens to the people.

Kishida, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), also said Japan must focus on challenges such as poverty and social disparity.

“I will make utmost efforts for the benefit of the nation and the people,” Kishida told a news conference, adding that he could show strength in the areas of economic and foreign policy due to his experience, which includes serving as foreign minister from 2012 to 2017.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last Friday he was resigning for health reasons, opening up a contest to succeed him as LDP head and, due to the party’s strength in parliament, prime minister.

Kishida, 63, a low-key member of parliament from Hiroshima, said efforts must be made to gain the trust of the people and Japan must maintain fiscal stimulus for the time being.

Kishida has been seen as Abe’s preferred successor but he ranks low in voter surveys. He said a slimmed-down form of the LDP elections is in line with party rules.

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