The “future” of Hirofumi Yoshimura who wants to be Toru Hashimoto & Ichiro Matsui who wants to be Taka-jin | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The “future” of Hirofumi Yoshimura who wants to be Toru Hashimoto & Ichiro Matsui who wants to be Taka-jin

What will happen? Japan Restoration Association: The election of a new representative has been decided in a "race to win" and the two key figures have already lost their motivation. ......

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New Representative Baba (right) in a good mood, and former Representative Matsui with a Buddhist smile. Until now, Baba had been the number two coordinator.

Mr. Yoshimura, please take my picture!

On August 27, after the election of The Japan Innovation Party representatives at a hall in Osaka City, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura (47) was greeted by a line of Diet members asking for a commemorative photo. Although they had just finished voting, their expressions showed no signs of elation or tension. This is understandable, since the representative election was a “race from the beginning. Three members of the House of Representatives, Nobuyuki Baba (57), Yasushi Adachi (56), and Mizuho Umemura (43), ran for the seat, but Baba’s victory was assured from the start.

In Osaka, there was a strong support for Toru Azuma, 55, a member of the House of Councillors, who is one of the oldest members. However, Ichiro Matsui, 58, the representative of the House of Representatives, announced his ‘support for Baba’ at an early stage. In addition, Mr. Azuma was persuaded by a young Diet member who had taken Mr. Matsui’s wishes into consideration, and he declined to run. The race was already decided before he even started,” said a veteran prefectural assembly member belonging to the Ishin no Kai.

If he defies Matsui, he may lose his position in the party. The more fearful the members are of Matsui’s power within the party, the more absolute his power is. As a result, Baba received an overwhelming 80% of the votes to become the new representative.

Immediately after the representative election, Baba nominated Yoshimura as co-chairman, and asked Matsui to be his advisor. All of this must have been at the direction of Mr. Matsui as well. Most of the Diet members had no idea that Mr. Yoshimura would be the co-chairman until the day of the election. Mr. Baba is certainly excellent as a “coordinator,” but he has no charisma. Therefore, we decided that Mr. Baba would handle the practical work and Mr. Yoshimura would be the signboard. Mr. Matsui himself, as an advisor, will be in charge of the government.

The biggest climax for the newly formed Restoration Association will be the nationwide local elections in April next year. The goal is to increase the number of members from the current approximately 400 to 600. If Baba does not achieve this goal, he has even announced that he will resign. Journalist Tetsuo Suzuki said.

Although Baba won 12 seats in the Upper House election in July, only four of them were won in electoral districts. This is a result that reveals that the Ishin brand has not spread to the rest of the country. In fact, the Restoration Association was meeting with candidates for the local elections even in the midst of the Upper House election. The scenario would be to first firmly establish itself nationwide in the nationwide local elections and then aim to become the number one opposition party in the next general election for the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Matsui has stated that he will retire from politics when his term as Osaka mayor expires next spring. What does he intend to do outwardly while controlling the party from the shadows?

Matsui often says at drinking parties, ‘I want to be like Yashikita Kajin. Whether he is a good MC or not is a complete unknown (laughs). However, Mr. Matsui is a typical Osaka person and loves Osaka. I don’t think he intends to appear in almost any media other than those in Osaka,” said a member of the Restoration Association.

There is a view that Governor Yoshimura, who has become co-chairman of the Restoration Association, will also leave politics after the Osaka World Exposition in 2013.

In ’20, the referendum on the Osaka Metropolis concept was rejected for the second time, and Mr. Yoshimura has lost his motivation. I don’t think he will stay with the Restoration Association after the Expo, which he has been working to realize, is over. He has probably seen how active Mr. Hashimoto (Toru) has been, and after he retires from politics, he will probably work as a TV personality in parallel with being a lawyer. In any case, Mr. Yoshimura’s popularity among housewives is extraordinary. I have no doubt that he will be sought after by the media.

The Restoration Association is aiming to make a great leap forward in the local elections. With the two de facto leaders of the party losing their motivation, will things go as planned?

The Diet members may be trying to capitalize on the popularity of the party. After the election, a line formed in front of Governor Yoshimura for a commemorative photo.

From the September 16, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Kei Kato

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