New Prime Minister Kishida calls for measures to tackle rice price decline

TOKYO, Oct. 5 – Fumio Kishida, president of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was elected the 100th prime minister at the extraordinary Diet session held on Oct. 4.

Kishida launched his Cabinet the same day and appointed Genjiro Kaneko, former chair of the Upper House Budget Committee, as the new agriculture minister.

Kishida asked Kaneko to swiftly compile measures to stabilize supply-demand balance of rice amid declining rice prices.

The new prime minister said at a news conference that the top priority will be given to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the government will put together economic measures to support people and businesses affected by the pandemic.

The government is considering fresh economic stimulus of tens of trillions of yen.

Regarding economic policies, Kishida said he is hoping to implement his concept of “new capitalism,” and will set up a panel to realize a new model of capitalism through laying out a socioeconomic vision for the post-coronavirus era.

Kishida also called for the need to make agriculture, forestry and fisheries one of the sectors under the government’s growth strategy and construct a diversified and rich agricultural sector.

Meanwhile, Kaneko told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office the same day that Kishida instructed him to cope with a plunge in rice prices.

Kishida told him that it is a serious issue which should be dealt with as soon as possible, Kaneko said.

Kaneko, an Upper House lawmaker who belongs to Kishida’s faction, had been elected to the House of Councillors twice from Nagasaki Prefecture after serving three terms as the governor of the prefecture and then winning a seat in the Lower House five times.

He has long-standing expertise in fisheries policy, having served as acting chairman of the LDP’s Research Commission on Fishery Policies.

As farm minister, he is facing an urgent task of stabilizing supply-demand balance and prices of rice harvested this year amid the drop in rice prices.

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