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POLITICS

Scramble for cabinet, LDP executive posts intensifying

  • 2015-08-24 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: August 22, 2015 – p. 5)

 

 In anticipation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reelection in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election in September, moves over personnel changes in the party executive posts and cabinet reshuffle are intensifying. With an eye on rewards for contributions, there is a faction which wasted no time in expressing its support for Abe’s reelection. The scramble for cabinet and party executive posts is proving more heated than moves for the presidential race.

 

 The 34-member faction led by General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai announced its support for Abe’s reelection at a workshop held in Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, on Aug. 9. That evening Abe telephoned Nikai and expressed his appreciation, which indicates “a reward.”

 

 No Nikai faction member has held a cabinet post since Koya Nishikawa, agriculture minister, resigned over a political funding scandal. A senior faction member said, “Announcing (our support) before anyone else is important,” indicating that the faction wants to secure cabinet posts.”

 

 In the 95-member Hosoda faction, from which Abe hails, there are about 10 Diet members who have served enough terms, either elected five or more times to the House of Representatives or three or more times to the House of Councillors, to be eligible for cabinet portfolios. At a workshop on July 26, former LDP Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda, who heads the faction, criticized the Abe cabinet for giving priority to other factions and female lawmakers, saying, “The spirit of ‘you first’ and ‘ladies first’ should be altered slightly.”

 

 In contrast, the faction led by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, which has 45 members, is not actively lobbying for posts. Although Kishida has clarified his intention not to run in the leadership race, the faction has not yet announced its support for Abe’s reelection due to the existence of former Secretary General Makoto Koga, who wields a strong influence over the faction. Koga has advocated that a presidential election should be held. At a faction meeting on Aug. 20, Kishida only said, “I would like to discuss various issues.”

 

 The 14-member Ishihara faction, which can’t ignore the views of former faction head Taku Yamasahi who is critical of Abe, is in a situation similar to the Kishida faction. Since former Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, who heads the faction, has not clarified the faction’s position, the faction has lagged behind in the scramble for key posts.

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