On April 23, Liberal Democratic Party Research Council Chairperson Hakubun Shimomura will release a new book titled “GDW kokokuron: Kofukudo sekai ichi no kuni e” (Gross domestic well-being (GDW): Turning Japan into the country with the highest level of well-being in the world). The book introduces his “political vision,” as he reflects back on his life and discusses what Japan should become in the post-COVID era. In the book, he also speaks of a one-on-one interview he had with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, an indication that he may come forward as a candidate to succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
Shimomura has shifted from backing GDP-centered growth to putting GDW at the center of his vision for Japan.
Shimomura belongs to the Hosoda faction, the LDP’s largest. Former Prime Minister Abe was also from that faction. As the former premier still has influence, there are high expectations he will make a comeback. Since the Hosoda faction does not have a notable candidate for the LDP presidential race this autumn, a “word” from Abe could be a decisive factor. Shimomura’s new book will likely attract attention in Nagataccho. (Abridged)