Tokyo, Aug. 4 (Jiji Press)–Shigeru Ishiba, former secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, suggested Wednesday that he may not run in the party’s presidential election if it is held before the upcoming general election.
Ishiba made the suggestion on a Radio Nippon Co. program, noting his landslide loss to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the party leadership election last September.
“One scenario is to do our best under Suga, and see how the public judges us” in the election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, to be held this autumn, Ishiba said.
He also said, “If the public does not choose the LDP, we must pay respect to the public by overhauling our leadership.”
Suga’s current term as LDP president expires at the end of September. Ishiba, who has wide name recognition, is seen as a potential major contender for the party’s top role.
But Ishiba is struggling to gather the 20 party lawmakers necessary to nominate him as a candidate, as the intraparty faction backing him lost members following his resignation as its leader after the 2020 presidency election.
The planned resignation of former Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita, a major figure in the faction, from politics is also a headache for Ishiba.
“I worked with Ishiba to make him prime minister,” Kamoshita said at a press conference on Wednesday. “I’m ashamed I was not able to achieve that.”
“I’d like to continue supporting (Ishiba) as an ordinary party member,” he added.