Nicknamed “wolf middle-aged,” Mr. Masazumi Goto, a member of the Tokushima Prefectural Assembly, is “universally scorned” by his hometown.
Tokushima is shaken by the “expected” conservative split.
The Kishida administration, which has seen its approval rating plummet due to the former Unification Church issue and a string of ministerial resignations, is now facing a further headache in the election of new leaders.
The stage is set for the Tokushima prefectural gubernatorial election scheduled for next April. The candidates are suddenly attracting a great deal of attention. The reason for this is that, in addition to Toru Miki, 53, a member of the House of Councilors, who had previously announced his intention to run, it was announced on December 9 that Masazumi Goto, 55, a member of the House of Representatives, would also be running. This creates an unusual situation in which two incumbent LDP Diet members are vying for the governorship, and up to four people, including incumbent Kamon Iizumi (62), are vying for the governorship.
An official with the Tokushima Prefectural Federation of the Liberal Democratic Party explains.
A person involved in the LDP’s Tokushima Prefectural Federation explained, “There were rumors in the local community that Senator Goto was running for governor around this fall, but there was a strong feeling that it was unlikely. This is because Mr. Goto had a history of opposing the prefectural federation’s endorsement of Governor Iizumi and supporting the newcomer during the ’19 gubernatorial election, and the relationship between the federation and Mr. Goto was at its worst. However, when Senator Goto’s posters were removed last month, even in his hometown, his views changed. Because Councilor Miki also won the election in a specific proportional district quota, which gives him priority, if he were to resign during his term of office, a candidate with no connection to the area at all would be moved up in the election. For this reason, the prefectural federation has tried to persuade Councilor Miki to abandon his candidacy, but he refuses to listen. It’s a headache.”
Senator Goto has been considered a key figure in the gubernatorial election. He is a thoroughbred, having a great-uncle, Masaharu Goto, who served as Chief Cabinet Secretary, and has been elected eight times. He is also known for his wife, actress Maki Mizuno. However, his reputation, at least in Nagata-cho, is not good.
A Liberal Democratic Party Diet member commented on his character as follows: “He has been elected eight times.
He has been elected eight times and is descended from Masaharu Goto, a rare politician, but the fact that he has never served as a minister says it all. The reason for this is that he changes his attitude so frequently that he is ridiculed as a ‘middle-aged wolf. He has been a member of several factions, and is currently siding with Secretary-General Motegi. As far as the prefectural gubernatorial election is concerned, he had already interviewed four party officials, including Secretary-General Mogi, in October in advance of his candidacy.
He is a small-minded person in any case, and we have heard that he may have directly appealed to the party headquarters to have Senator Miki abandon his candidacy, thereby delaying the announcement of his own candidacy.
At a meeting held on November 25 with his supporters, Councilor Goto distributed a document titled “Rebuilding Tokushima: Determination to Renew Prefectural Government” in his hometown, which hinted at his intention to run for the prefectural governorship. The original document, obtained by this magazine, is littered with photographs of Senator Goto with key cabinet members, including the chairman of Oriental Land and the president of Lawson, as well as the governor.
The article concludes with a statement of his determination to revitalize Tokushima and renew the prefectural government. However, behind the scenes of the machinations that accompanied the gubernatorial election, an “incident” is also said to have occurred. A source from the prefectural federation continues, “A local supporter of Mr. Goto’s is said to have been involved in an incident.
A senior member of Mr. Goto’s local supporters’ association has apparently been transferred to Mr. Miki’s camp. It is unprecedented for someone from the same prefecture to move to a rival’s camp, and I couldn’t believe my ears. Mr. Goto kept losing votes in the House of Representatives election, and last time he managed to regain his proportional share. But he had fallen out of favor with the local community to the extent that even a proportional comeback was in jeopardy the next time around. The rift with the prefectural federation still runs deep, and there is a possibility that the prefectural gubernatorial election will feature its own candidate who is neither Mr. Goto nor Mr. Miki. Perhaps not amused by this situation, there is a movement to have four of his close associates run in the next prefectural assembly election.
In the midst of this intriguing battle within the LDP, Mr. Goto has a powerful ally in his own party. That support is none other than his wife, Maki Mizuno. According to a supporter, Maki Mizuno is very popular in her hometown.
Whenever Mr. Goto-san made his rounds in his hometown, Ms. Mizuno used to accompany him. There is even an anecdote that during the House of Representatives election in 2009, when some people said Mr. Goto was in danger, his wife went to greet the chiefs of the local assemblies and helped consolidate their votes. She is as perfect as a politician’s wife can be, and she is even more famous in her hometown for the way she rides around on her bicycle to cheer him on.
In recent years, perhaps because she has been busy studying for the nursery school teacher exam, she has not been able to get into Tokushima as often as she used to, but if Mizuno, who has an outstandingly favorable reputation, were to join her in Tokushima, the votes of the independents would surely flow to her. However, since he did not support her in the last House of Representatives election, it is hard to read whether he will be on the scene for the gubernatorial election.”
The conservative split in Tokushima seems to reflect the current state of the LDP, which is out of control. And the aftermath shows no sign of abating.
Photo (1st)： Kyodo News