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Holding G20 Summit in Osaka to help constitutional revision, Abe’s LDP presidential election

It is likely that the Abe administration’s decision on Feb. 20 to hold the G20 Summit in Osaka was partly in consideration of Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party], whose cooperation with constitutional revision is sought by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. At the same time, this was also in response to the request of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Osaka chapter, with the party’s presidential election this fall in mind. It was indeed a decision to kill two birds with one stone.

 

An aide to the Prime Minister revealed that he was “agonizing over whether to choose Osaka or Fukuoka until the last minute.” Ishin was a major factor in Osaka’s winning the bid. Abe’s aide explained that “the Prime Minister often says that in addition to Komeito, Ishin is necessary for constitutional revision.”

 

The government is already giving full support to Osaka in its bid to host Expo 2025 out of consideration for Ishin’s leader, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui. By holding the G20 Summit in Osaka, it is expecting further cooperation from Ishin. A senior Kantei official also pointed out that Osaka has rich experience in hosting international conferences.

 

Holding the G20 in Osaka is also meant as a favor to the LDP Osaka chapter. In the 2012 party presidential election, Osaka was the only major city where Abe was able to fight on an equal footing with former Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba [for rank-and-file party members’ votes].

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso pushed for his constituency, Fukuoka City. The city made great efforts to secure luxury hotels and was a strong rival to Osaka. The G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors will be held in Fukuoka, in deference to Aso. (Slightly abridged)

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