Fumio Kishida has won the leadership election for Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), putting him on track to become the country’s next prime minister. Mr. Kishida will take over from Yoshihide Suga, who resigned after only one year in office. His first task as PM will be to lead the LDP to victory in the forthcoming general election. After being pushed to host the Tokyo Olympics despite public resistance, the party’s popularity plummeted. Former Foreign Minister Kishida defeated Taro Kono, who was widely regarded as the most popular candidate. Mr. Kishida’s position as Prime Minister is all but secure, thanks to the LDP’s parliamentary majority. Mr. Kishida, 64, had long aspired to be Prime Minister but was defeated by Mr. Suga in last year’s election.

The incoming prime minister will have to deal with a number of difficult challenges, including post-pandemic economic recovery and dealing with North Korean threats. He supports the concept of issuing a resolution condemning China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority and has urged for the establishment of a “health crisis management agency” to cope with the pandemic. Mr. Kishida said after earning his victory, “My skill is to genuinely listen to people.” “I’m committed to working with everyone to achieve an open LDP and a bright future for Japan.” Mr. Suga opted to resign as Prime Minister after a year in office, citing declining poll ratings as a result of the pandemic’s handling.