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Junior LDP faction lawmakers to hold first meeting on promoting Kishida as Abe’s successor

  • May 11, 2016
  • , Sankei , p. 5
  • Translation

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) faction headed by Foreign Minister Kishida known as Kochikai will hold a study session mainly for junior lawmakers for the first time on May 11 in Tokyo. As Kishida is regarded as one of the frontrunners in the LDP to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the aim of the session is to increase Kishida’s presence as well as to strengthen the faction’s unity.

 

Kishida is a promising candidate for Abe’s successor on par with LDP Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki and Regional Reconstruction Minister Shigeru Ishiba. After conducting coordination for more than a year, Kishida succeeded in inviting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Hiroshima at the time of the G7 foreign ministerial meeting in April as the first cabinet member of the country that dropped the atomic bomb to go there. Recently, Kishida has been gradually playing up his own political identity (in carrying out diplomacy). A senior Foreign Ministry official said: “Since he has served in his post for about three and a half years, he has developed a strong persona.”

 

However, discontent is simmering within the faction, with a senior member saying, “Since he has not yet expressed willingness to run for LDP president, his political presence is weak.” In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Kochikai’s founding, the session was launched for the participants to deepen their understanding of the origin of the conservative mainstream advocated by the Kishida faction, including the income-doubling plan promoted by former Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda, the founder of Kochikai. The faction will discuss what is needed for Kishida to become Japan’s leader in the future while looking back on the achievements of his diplomacy.

 

Five study sessions are expected to be held in May. The faction will invite persons connected to former prime ministers – Ikeda, Masayoshi Ohira, Zenko Suzuki, and Kiichi Miyazawa – as lecturers. It will look into ways to promote Kishida as the next leader by learning how their predecessors became prime minister.

 

In a faction meeting on April 28, Kishida commented on the sessions by saying, “While reflecting on the history of Kochikai, I would like to utilize them to think about what we should do for the future.”

 

A senior faction member pointed out that “Kishida has a low profile nationwide. Although Prime Minister Abe will be in office for two more years, Kishida should hurry to prepare.” The faction wants to take the initiative in the presidential race by putting Kishida in the position of Abe’s successor at an early date.

 

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