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POLITICS

Changes seen in the LDP faction scene

  • November 3, 2021
  • , Sankei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

By Hironori Sawada

 

There are signs of change among the seven factions in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) following the House of Representatives election. Since all factions lost some members, they are rushing to recruit newcomers. There may be a change in leadership in the Hosoda faction (Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai) and the Takeshita faction (Heiseikai). The Ishihara faction (Kinmirai Seiji Kenkyukai), is in jeopardy of survival after its leader, former LDP secretary-general Ishihara Nobuteru, lost his seat.

 

Members of the Hosoda faction, which boasts the party’s largest force, has voiced expectations for the prompt return of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to the faction. The LDP will recommend Hosoda Hiroyuki, the faction head, as the next chairperson of the House of Representatives. Since the chairperson customarily leaves the party, many Hosoda faction members are hoping that Abe will assume the faction leadership. Takaichi Sanae, the LDP Policy Research Council chairperson, reportedly hopes that Abe will return to the faction.

 

Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu, who is the Takeshita faction’s acting chair, is strongly favored to head the Takeshita faction, now that he will be appointed the LDP secretary-general. As faction head, Motegi will succeed the late Takeshita Wataru, the former LDP General Council chair. Motegi contributed to Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s victory in the recent LDP presidential election by uniting the faction to support Kishida. Motegi’s ability to secure the LDP secretary-general position and ministerial post is held in high esteem. One junior lawmaker had high hopes for Motegi, saying “it will be easy to recruit newcomers to a secretary general’s faction.”

 

The Kishida faction (Kochikai), led by Kishida, lost five members, including those who retired, in the election. Kishida was able to save face since the decrease is small compared with that of the other major factions. The LDP president generally leaves a faction during his or her term, but LDP Vice President Taro Aso continued to belong to the faction even when he served as LDP president. Kishida is planning to follow Aso’s example and remain in the faction. The faction will try to leverage its being the president’s faction to expand its power.

 

The Aso faction (Shikokai) is now the second biggest faction in the party, but was hurt by the resignation of Amari Akira from the position of LDP secretary-general after he lost in his single-seat district.

 

On the other hand, the Ishihara faction and the Ishiba faction (Suigetsukai) are in trouble.

 

Ishihara’s election loss had a big impact on the Ishihara faction. The only veteran lawmakers in the faction are former LDP Diet Affairs Committee chair Moriyama Hiroshi and Sakamoto Tetsushi, the former minister for promoting dynamic engagement of all citizens.

 

Yamazaki Taku, who established the Yamazaki faction, the predecessor of the Ishihara faction, supported Tsujimoto Kiyomi of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) in the Lower House election, for which the LDP’s Osaka Prefectural Federation demanded Yamazaki’s expulsion from the party. Seko Hiroshige, the House of Councilors secretary-general, criticized Yamazaki at a press conference on Nov. 2, saying that “a penalty is unavoidable. It is a clear anti-party act.” A person connected with the Ishihara faction was at their wit’s end, saying that “merging with other factions is an option.”

 

In the Ishiba faction, former Environment Minister Kamoshita Ichiro, the faction’s second in command, has retired. Minister of Justice Yoshihisa Furukawa, who was previously the faction’s secretary-general, left the faction in September 2021, and some veteran members are considering leaving. Former LDP secretary-general Ishiba Shigeru, who leads the faction, continues to lose political capital. A faction official said, “The faction can continue in the form of a study group, but not for the purpose of making Mr. Ishiba prime minister.”

 

The Nikai faction (Shishukai) lost 10 members, the biggest loss of all factions. Former secretary general Nikai Toshihiro, who is the faction chairman, no longer has an executive position in the LDP. Nikai is in a difficult position to lead the faction.

 

 LDP factions (no. of members)

Hosoda

89

Aso

48

Takeshita

46

Kishida

41

Nikai

37

Ishiba

12

Ishihara

7

* surveyed by Sankei Shimbun

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