Japan's lower house elections on Oct. 31 will be the first big test for newly minted Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who took office earlier this month after his predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, bowed out after only a year on the job. Quick as this succession may seem, it was the norm for Japan to have a new prime minister almost every year prior to the era of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who led the country for almost eight years from December 2012 to September 2020.
It's too soon to know whether Suga's resignation marked the beginning of another streak of "revolving door" Japaneses prime ministers and whether the same fate will ultimately befall Kishida. In the past, some prime ministers resigned after political infighting or scandals while others quit due to personal health reasons. But more ofen than not, resignations have been the result of an election loss. Sunday's vote, then, will be a litmus test for Kishida's staying power.
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