Ex-diplomat Kishida wins Japan party vote, to become new PM

TOKYO (AP) — Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has won the governing party’s leadership election and is set to become the country’s next prime minister. Kishida replaces outgoing party leader Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down after serving only one year. In his victory speech, Kishida vowed to tackle national crises including COVID-19, the pandemic-battered economy and the declining population and birthrate, while pursuing a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific that counters Chinese assertiveness in the region. Kishida beat popular vaccinations minister Taro Kono in a runoff after finishing only one vote ahead of him in the first round, in which none of the four candidates, including two women, was able to win a majority.