(Yomiuri: January 19, 2016 – p. 4)
The Liberal Democratic Party’s Kishida faction held a dinner party at a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo on the evening of Jan. 18 in honor of faction chairman Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. The party was held in appreciation of his efforts in reaching the Japan-ROK agreement on the comfort women issue. Faction members also confirmed their unity in the next LDP presidential election.
Kishida has served as foreign minister since the second Abe cabinet was inaugurated in December 2012. He is seen to be a promising candidate to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. However, certain faction members complain that “he is often overshadowed by Prime Minister Abe, who plays an active role in diplomacy,” according to a junior member.
Kishida visited the ROK in late December and managed to clinch a “final and irreversible agreement” on the comfort women issue in a meeting with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. Faction members are now hopeful because Kishida “was able to show the world that there is a new leader (in Japan),” according to Kensei Mizote, chair of the LDP caucus in the House of Councillors.