Japan's ex-PM criticizes Kishida for leading party faction

The predecessor of Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has criticized him for not leaving his party faction while leading the country. Kishida heads a faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Suga Yoshihide was speaking to reporters on Tuesday.

Asked about the relationship between Kishida and his faction, Suga said the prime minister is in a position to work hard for the sake of the entire public. He said it is his understanding that many past prime ministers left their factions while they were serving as leader.

He also said politicians given the people's mandate should not prioritize their factions' agenda over their visions and policies.

Suga added that currently, it is not easy for members of the public to have their voices heard by politicians.

Suga also referred to Kishida's initiative to enhance measures to tackle the country's low birthrate, in particular how to finance the measures. The former prime minister said he thinks such measures are desperately needed. But he indicated that he did not support the idea of raising the consumption tax to fund them.