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LDP Hosoda faction makes strategic preparation for post-Abe leadership

  • December 13, 2018
  • , Sankei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation
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Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda and Policy Research Council Chairperson Fumio Kishida had a meeting at a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo on the night of Dec. 12. Hosoda is the leader of the Hosoda faction (“Seiwaken,” a policy research group with 96 members) and Kishida the leader of the Kishida faction (“Kouchikai” with 48 members). Other senior officials of the two factions were also at the meeting.


The meeting can be said to be a strategic preparation for post-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe leadership. The meeting indicates Kishida’s intention to deepen the relationship with the Hosoda faction, the largest of all factions in the LDP, toward the next party presidential election. It also reflects the Hosoda faction’s desire to maintain its influence within the party because the faction has no prominent candidate widely supported by its members as the next party president.  


Among others at the meeting from the Hosoda faction were LDP Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision of the Constitution Chairperson Hakubun Shimomura, who is the faction’s secretary general, and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko.  From the Kishida faction were former Minister of the Environment Yoshio Mochizuki, the faction’s secretary general, and Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Takumi Nemoto. They agreed that the two factions will continue deepening cooperation with each other from now on.


The Kishida faction called for the meeting. Kishida gave up his candidacy for the last LDP presidential election in September and supported Prime Minister Abe. Kishida apparently bears in mind a smooth transference of power from the prime minister in the next presidential election. Whether the Hosoda faction, from which Prime Minister Abe hails, will support Kishida will be the key to his success. “We need to join hands with the prime minister’s faction first,” said earnestly a senior official of the Kishida faction, which seeks cooperation with other factions.


On the other hand, the question is whom the Hosoda faction will designate as the “post-Abe” candidate. It will affect whether the faction can maintain its influence after the Abe administration. Supporting Kishida is a workable option as he has a good relationship with Prime Minister Abe. He is also known for being steady. However, LDP General Council Chairperson Katsunobu Kato was selected for his post in this October’s shuffle of party executives, swiftly increasing his presence in the party. He is a member of the Takeshita faction (“Heisei Kenkyukai” with 55 members) and his family is close to Prime Minister Abe’s family. (Abridged)

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