By Okada Mizuki
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s appointments to his cabinet and the LDP board have caused a stir in the Hosoda faction (Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai in Japanese), the largest faction in the LDP. Fukuda Tatsuo [Hosoda faction], who supported Kishida in his bid for the party presidency, was appointed chairperson of the LDP General Council. It also should be noted that Kishida appointed those close to the late Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura Nobutaka. Meanwhile, those close to former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo remain dissatisfied with Kishida’s selections. Abe had supported current LDP Policy Research Council chair Takaichi Sanae [in the LDP presidential election]. Some are concerned that a conflict could flare up again [within the Hosoda faction] between the group descended from the former “Fukuda” faction and the group influenced by Abe.
“The upcoming Lower House election will not be easy,” said former LDP Secretary-General Hosoda Hiroyuki, the leader of the Hosoda faction, at a meeting of the faction on Oct. 7. “Let’s tackle it as one team.” In this way, Hosoda called for unity among his faction members.
However, careful examination of the Hosoda faction reveals a rift between those influenced by Abe and those not.
Fukuda Tatsuo has been elected to the House of Representatives only three times but was appointed chair of the LDP General Council. Tatsuo’s grandfather is former Prime Minister Fukuda Takeo, who formed the “League to renew the LDP spirit,” a parliamentary group that is the origin of the Hosoda faction. Tatsuo’s father is former Prime Minister Fukuda, who competed against Abe to succeed former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro.
Prime Minister Kishida appointed Matsuno Hirokazu to the position of chief cabinet secretary and Takagi Tsuyoshi to the post of chairperson of the LDP Diet Affairs Committee. Matsuno and Takagi did not support Abe in the 2012 LDP presidential election but supported Machimura, who had served as chief cabinet secretary under the administration of Fukuda Yasuo.
In the recent appointments to the cabinet and LDP board, Abe apparently wanted Kishida to appoint lawmakers who are close to Abe to either the post of LDP secretary-general or that of chief cabinet secretary. Some say Hosoda faction members who are influenced by Abe are dissatisfied with Kishida’s appointments. (Abridged)