Kishida vows to pull Japan out of COVID crisis

Japan's new leader is vowing to do all he can to fight the coronavirus and get the country's economy back in shape.

Kishida Fumio has been elected prime minister by the country's Diet and has formed his Cabinet.

More than half of its members will serve in a ministerial role for the first time.

Kishida held the foreign minister post for more consecutive years than anyone in post-war history.

He took the helm of the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party last week after Suga Yoshihide opted not to seek a second term as leader.

Two members of Suga's Cabinet will continue their same duties as Foreign Minister and Defense Minister.

Kishida has created a new post... the minister in charge of economic security.

In his first news conference as prime minister, Kishida said his priority is to take anti-coronavirus measures.

Kishida said, "We will thoroughly analyze the measures taken so far and examine what has become a bottleneck in dealing with the crisis. Based on the results, we will drastically strengthen crisis response measures such as those to curb people's movements in time of emergency, and to secure hospital beds. We will also strengthen the government's ability to function as a control tower for crisis management."

Kishida says he will create a new form of capitalism to achieve a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution. He says his economic policies will ensure more equitable distribution of wealth.

He says the long-standing issue with North Korea is his top foreign relations priority.

Kishida said, "The abduction issue is the most important issue. I will make all-out efforts to realize the return of all abductees as soon as possible. I am prepared to face North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without any conditions."

One of the new prime minister's first orders of business will be a Lower House election which he plans to call for October 31st.

Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito currently control both Houses of the Diet.