Former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba recently announced his resignation as chairman of the Ishiba faction (called Suigetsukai; 19 members). Now, the idea to merge the LDP’s Ishiba faction and the party’s Takeshita faction (called Heisei Kenkyukai; 54 members) has arisen, the Sankei Shimbun learned on Oct. 29. According to sources connected with the LDP, former Minister of the Environment Ichiro Kamoshita, an Ishiba faction heavyweight whom Ishiba highly trusts, has begun negotiations with senior members of the Takeshita faction on merging the two factions. Some members of the Ishiba faction, however, have been approached by the Nikai faction (called Shisuikai; 48 members) and asked to join the faction. This means it is unlikely that the entire Ishiba faction will be merged with the Takeshita faction.
Kamoshita has approached senior members of the Takeshita faction, saying, “I want to discuss” the future of the Ishiba faction, the source said.
Ishiba and some other senior officials of the Ishiba faction used to be members of the Takeshita faction. This includes Kamoshita, former Minister of State for Financial Services Tatsuya Ito and Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura. The two factions are close. When Ishiba ran in the party presidential election in 2018, the Upper House members of the Takeshita faction supported Ishiba. Kamoshita intends to proceed carefully with the negotiations with the Takeshita faction by not setting a deadline and by taking into account the wishes of the Ishiba faction members.
On the other hand, there is a good chance that Ishiba will not be allowed to join the Takeshita faction. This is because, if Ishiba, who ran for the presidency four times in the past, joins the Takeshita faction, it could cause a friction within the faction as it has members who aim to run for LDP president, including Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato.
“The Ishiba faction has a strong membership,” a senior official of the Takeshita faction told those around him. “We will not reject anyone who comes to us, except for that man (Ishiba).”