Economic Revitalization Minister Nobuteru Ishihara made remarks in which he passed the buck for the LDP-backed candidate’s defeat in the gubernatorial election to the secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party when he announced his resignation as chairman of the LDP Tokyo chapter at a press conference on August 2. “The gubernatorial election is a matter that should be handled by the party headquarters,” he said. “Funding was collected at the initiative of the headquarters, not the Tokyo chapter. The responsibility rests with the secretary-general (Tanigaki).”
The LDP officially endorsed former Internal Affairs and Telecommunications Minister Hiroya Masuda as a party candidate for the gubernatorial race. It appears that Ishihara wanted to emphasize the fact that since the endorsement came from the party headquarters, Tanigaki should be held responsible for the defeat.
As head of the Tokyo chapter, Ishihara sent LDP members a notice that their party membership would be cancelled if they or their relatives supported a candidate other than Masuda. This was taken as “blackmail.” Some in the Tokyo chapter pointed out that “this was one factor that tarnished Masuda’s image.” (Abridged)