There is concern that conflict may reemerge between the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) Nikai and Kishida factions. This is because Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai has appointed former House of Representatives member Kotaro Nagasaki, who lost his seat to Lower House member Noriko Horiuchi in the second district of Yamanashi in the Lower House election in October, as “policy assistant to the secretary general.”
Nagasaki, backed by Nikai, and Horiuchi had long competed to be recognized as the official LDP candidate for the second district of Yamanashi, and this was regarded as a “proxy war” between the two factions, so the Kishida faction has reacted strongly.
Nikai explained his appointment of Nagasaki as his assistant as of Dec. 15 at a news conference held at the party headquarters on Dec. 19. He said: “I always want everybody to work as a team, so I would like to give everyone an opportunity to play a role.”
Nagasaki is expected to be tasked with working on policy planning for party diplomacy and fortification of national land, two of Nikai’s signature issues.
Commenting on Nagasaki’s appointment as a party official, a senior member of the Nikai faction said: “It is quite natural that he should be given a role in preparation for his return to the Diet,” making no effort to hide the intent to help Nagasaki return to national politics.
In reaction to this, Kishida faction members voiced criticism that, “The issue of recognition as official candidate has been resolved. Mr. Nikai is trying to revive the conflict,” according to a mid-ranking member.
In the last election, Nagasaki only returned to the LDP shortly before the official start of campaigning. Both Nagasaki and Horiuchi ran as independents. Horiuchi won and was recognized as official LDP candidate later on.