Kishida will need to defy the odds of Japanese political longevity

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Over the past few days, various Tokyo friends have described — or acted on — a sudden craving for okonomiyaki. In particular, they want the Hiroshima-style version of the savoury pancake, which has a workaday base of noodles, a humble egg coronet and gargantuan social media fame after Yuko Kishida made one for dinner last Wednesday.

She did so in the hours that followed her husband, Fumio, winning the leadership race of the ruling Liberal Democratic party. That means he will succeed Yoshihide Suga as prime minister of Japan: a country where ordinary people enjoy one of the world’s highest life expectancies, but prime ministers last a postwar average of about two years — about the same lifespan as a western mosquitofish. Few considerations of a new PM, says the chair of one of Japan’s largest companies,…

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