The opposition, which is stepping up its offensive against the Abe administration, is already making moves to field a “star candidate” in the House of Councillors election in summer 2019. They are reportedly planning to field former Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Kihei Maekawa as a common candidate for the opposition camp in the Tokyo constituency.
Maekawa exposed “the Kantei’s involvement” in the approval for the Kake Gakuen’s new veterinary school, which had caused a serious predicament for the Abe administration at one time. He has been in the limelight again recently in light of Education Ministry officials “inquiring” about a lecture he delivered.
Several opposition officials have said, “Mr. Maekawa is a man of principle; he is the type of person we need.” Since Maekawa’s principle is his “anti-Abe” stance, he would be a godsend for them. However, Maekawa was once questioned over his role in an Education Ministry amakudari scandal, so certain opposition party members are opposed to his candidacy.
Maekawa is also the brother-in-law of the Liberal Democratic Party’s former Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and a member of former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone’s clan. An opposition party source observes, “He may also trigger discord among forces in the LDP that are unhappy with the Abe administration.”