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Noda’s joining cabinet thwarts ex-PM Hosokawa’s plan to realign opposition parties

  • September 1, 2017
  • , p. 44
  • JMH Translation

Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa is quietly making moves toward a realignment of the opposition parties. He held a secret meeting at a restaurant in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, on Aug. 13. He was later joined by House of Representatives member Takatane Kiuchi, who bolted the Democratic Party, and Sakurako Shima, director of Japan School of Policy Making. Shima is the younger sister of Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Seiko Noda. She used to be Noda’s policy secretary and is a well-known figure in Nagatacho.


Actually, Noda was invited to join the meeting when Hosokawa was making preparations in July, but Shima attended on her behalf, according to a political reporter. This reporter said that “Hosokawa was trying to recruit Noda to the new Nippon First no Kai [Japan First Party] to be launched by the group around Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.”


Hosokawa and Noda both graduated from Sophia University and have maintained contact. He was “maneuvering to make Noda the leader of the new party” (according to the above reporter) on behalf of his ally, Koike. But Noda’s joining the cabinet turned Hosokawa’s plan into a “midsummer night’s dream.”


Yuichiro Tanaka, grandson of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and eldest son of Makiko Tanaka, attended the meeting. There is talk that Yuichiro intends to become a politician in the future and “apparently, Makiko wanted him to move closer to the Japan First Party,” said the reporter. Since the plan to make Noda party leader didn’t work out, Makiko may also have to change her plans.

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