The political jostling that followed the surprise decision of Mr Yoshihide Suga to step down as Japan's prime minister ended with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which led Japan for most of its post-World War II period, choosing Mr Fumio Kishida as his successor. This followed a run-off with the charismatic "vaccine minister" Taro Kono in which elected MPs got more say over the rank and file with whom Mr Kono is more popular. Mr Kishida is no stranger to the world, having been foreign minister in the Cabinet of Mr Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving PM whose poor health forced him to leave office in September last year. Mr Kishida was sworn in yesterday as the country's third leader in less than 14 months.
Is Japan back to the "one-and-done" era of revolving-door PMs that marked the period before Mr Abe returned to office in 2012 for his long run? Mr Kishida now has to lead his party into a general election which is expected at the end of this month. Should the LDP under him fail to snatch a strong victory as it is accustomed to doing, the calls for him to step down will begin and leave Japan looking for a new leader all over again. Ambitious Japanese politicians know that politics is also a waiting game. If they stick around long enough, there will be enough opportunity for a shot at power. The popular and media-savvy Mr Kono can thus accept his setback with grace, knowing his time could yet come.
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