By Izumi Hiroshi, journalist
Some say Kishida will ”dissolve Lower House again” while others say “Kishida will resign after Hiroshima Summit”
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio managed to hold the state funeral, which was a major undertaking. His next challenge, though, will be the extraordinary Diet session to be convened from Oct. 3. A battle between the ruling and opposition parties will inevitably erupt from the start of the session not only over the pros and cons of the state funeral but also over the issue of [politicians’ ties with] the former Unification Church (Family Federation for World Peace and Unification).
It is said, however, that Prime Minister Kishida remains confident: “If we can steadily make progress on the various difficult issues we face, we will be able to emerge from the difficult position we are in.” There is growing anxiety within the ruling parties, however, that “[the administration] will fall into a gradual decline if things continue as they are,” says an influential cabinet minister. If the cabinet support rate continues to drop after the extraordinary Diet session opens, the crisis faced by the administration will inevitably worsen further.
Prime Minister Kishida remains confident, though, saying, “If there are no national elections or [LDP] presidential elections, then the incumbent prime minister can continue to serve.” However, two theories about Kishida are starting to be floated within the LDP: that “Kishida will dissolve the Lower House again” and that “Kishida will resign after the Hiroshima Summit.”
For the time being, Kishida has “no choice but to deal with things as they come”
Given the difficult situation Prime Minister Kishida is in, a theory is emerging within the LDP that “Kishida will again dissolve the Lower House.” As an LDP leader comments, “The opposition parties don’t have their act together so the ruling parties won’t lose if there were an election.” But many, including someone in the LDP Election Strategy Headquarters, think that “it is certain that the LDP would lose a substantial number of Diet seats [if an election were called] so it would be the final nail in the coffin for Prime Minister Kishida.”
Furthermore, based on the assumption that the LDP will face an uphill battle in the unified local elections next spring, the theory has emerged that “Kishida will resign after the Hiroshima Summit,” which will be held in mid- to late May next year.
For the time being, however, the reality is that, in the words of an aide, “Kishida has no choice but to deal with things as they come.” For that reason alone, more and more are saying, in the words of a former cabinet member, “If the confusion continues, the Prime Minister may ‘run out of luck’ sooner or later.” (Abridged)