On Aug. 24, Nikai Toshihiro, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), announced that his faction (47 members) will support the reelection of Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide as party president. The senior members of the other four factions, who supported Suga in his campaign for the party presidency last year, are poised to back Suga, but they have not decided whether they should ask their faction members to support him as they are facing difficulty in addressing the dissatisfaction junior members have toward Suga.
On Aug. 23, the senior members of the Nikai faction met and decided to join hands to support Suga. They also confirmed that they will listen to junior members who are becoming increasingly worried about running election campaigns with Suga as party leader. Nonetheless the faction leadership overrode this concern and announced support for Suga because it wants to spearhead the reelection of Suga as LDP president.
In the race for party president held last year, the Hosoda faction (96 members), which holds the largest membership in the LDP, the Aso faction (53 members), the Takeshita faction (52 members), and the Ishihara faction (10 members) joined the bandwagon one after another after the Nikai faction expressed its support.
But this time the four factions will likely take a wait-and-see approach for the immediate future. If they rush to decide on their support for Suga, they may see a “rebellion” during the presidential race.
Inside the Hosoda faction, leader and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda Hiroyuki has expressed support for Suga. But dissatisfaction is growing among some members, who say they “heard no word from him about the move beforehand.” “If the faction decides on support for Suga, I will leave the faction,” says one junior member of the faction.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Aso Taro, leader of the Aso faction, maintains his support for Suga. Inside the Takeshita faction, former Upper House President Aoki Mikio, who still wields influence on the faction’s Upper House members, has already told the faction leadership to gather support for Suga. Diet Affairs Council Chairperson Moriyama Hiroshi, who is secretary-general of the Ishihara faction, told reporters on Aug. 24 that “I will decide whether to support (the reelection of Suga) by assessing his achievements.” It remains to be seen whether his faction will support Suga or not.