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How Abe’s death could set Kishida free

TOKYO — The post-Shinzo Abe era is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable and impactful Japan has seen in generations, both for economic and security matters.

In his 284 days as prime minister, Fumio Kishida has so far cut a cautious figure. A protege of the late Abe, who was assassinated on July 8, Kishida tried to pull off a near-impossible balancing act.

On the one hand, he’s been keen to take his “new capitalism” plan out for a ride to increase wages and competitiveness. On the other, Kishida had to operate with larger-than-life kingmaker Abe looking over his shoulder at every turn.