Shinjiro Koizumi Rising Figure in Japanese Politics By Phillip Howard
Japan has a large, aging population due to lower birth rates, a trend that has been playing out in Japanese politics for years. The call for newer, younger leadership is strong. Shinjiro Koizumi, an influential member of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), may be a potential successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Koizumi is the son of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (2001-2006). Polling shows Koizumi is more popular than Abe and Abe’s opponent in the last election, Shigeru Ishiba.
Koizumi is relatively young, at 37 years old, but has held prominent political positions, including deputy Secretary-General of the LDP, a position he resigned from last year in order to contrast the Abe administration.
Stephen Nagy, Associate Professor of Politics at Tokyo’s International Christian University, believes Koizumi “is very young and relatively inexperienced,” so he is “going to have to play his cards very carefully” and bear in mind that “he has very large political shoes that he is going to have to step into” as “the economy is doing very under Abe.” Nagy cited low unemployment and Abe’s well-received foreign policy.
At the same time, Koizumi called for reforms in the wake of scandals last year that shook the Abe administration, and pointed to how the status quo of Japanese politics has limited economic growth and competition with other countries, such as China.
Koizumi has proceeded cautiously, stating “people often say, “You’re young, so you shouldn’t fear failure” in a rare interview last year. “But the ones who say that waiting for you to fail, and if you fail, they will thoroughly beat you down.”
Many eyes will be on Koizumi between now and 2021, when the Japanese Diet has its next election.
Phillip Howard is a graduate student at Utica College