All papers wrote that the ruling LDP has informally decided to revise the existing rule that prohibits its president from serving more than two consecutive three-year terms, noting that Vice President Komura has the authority to choose either three consecutive three-year terms or eliminate the restriction altogether. Komura will probably select the first option on the grounds that “some kind of restriction is necessary to prevent one president from serving indefinitely.” Projecting that the LDP will make an official decision next March, the papers said PM Abe will be able to serve through September 2021 at the longest if the three-term option is selected.
In an accompanying piece, Yomiuri speculated that Komura is likely to decide on the three-term option in order to avert the discontent that would probably be triggered if the non-restrictive option were selected because former Minister for Regional Revitalization Ishiba, FM Kishida, and others are hoping to become president in the future. Asahi wrote that the proposed extension was endorsed quickly without substantive discussion among LDP politicians, noting that the absence of discussion reflects Abe’s dominant presence within the ruling party. Nikkei noted that the extension would give the prime minister more time to work on his signature policies of revising the Constitution and resolving the Northern Territories dispute.