Yoshiro Mori and Kishida meaningfully overheard… “bizarre photos” of an Abe faction political fund party. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Yoshiro Mori and Kishida meaningfully overheard… “bizarre photos” of an Abe faction political fund party.

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Seiwa Council member welcoming party attendees at the entrance (PHOTO: Takeshi Kinugawa)

This is the power of the largest faction.

On May 16, members of the Seiwa-kai (Abe Faction), the largest faction of the Liberal Democratic Party, lined up in a row at the entrance of a hotel banquet hall in Tokyo to form a “flower aisle. The Seiwa-kai’s political fund party was being held, and all the lawmakers were there to welcome the supporters who attended.

The party was led this year by 73-year-old Shionoya Ryu, a member of the House of Representatives. He has led the Seiwa-kai faction as acting chairman since the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (67), and this time he was on stage to deliver a representative speech. The Seiwa-kai is crowded with big-name Diet members, including Kōichi Hagiuda, 59, chairman of the policy research committee, and Yasutoshi Nishimura, 60, minister of economy, trade, and industry, who are vying for the next prime minister’s seat, and are fighting for supremacy above the water level. This party was also an occasion for such lawmakers to check each other.

Many of them were attending the party for the first time, including Satsuki Katayama (64), who switched sides to the Abe faction last year after falling out with the Nikai faction, and Nobuchiro Kishi (31), nephew of former Prime Minister Abe, who won the Yamaguchi 2nd district by-election this April.

About 3,000 people attended the meeting. Every year, political fundraisers of various factions are held in mid-May, but this year’s event was held on high alert, perhaps because it was before the G7 summit in Hiroshima. The “big-name guests,” including Vice President Taro Aso (82) and Natsuo Yamaguchi (70), leader of the New Komeito Party, entered with SPs from the back entrance, rather than through the flower aisle made by the lawmakers.

In addition to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (65), former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori (85), a former leader of the Seiwa-kai, was also at the party. Upon seeing Mori, who still exudes authority 20 years after stepping down as prime minister, Kishida rushed to his side to ask him something. What was the conversation they had?

Prime Minister Kishida talks to former Prime Minister Mori (photo: Takeshi Kinugawa)

I don’t know if the conversation with Kishida was the impetus, but Prime Minister Mori left the party midway through. He is known as the “king of gibberish.” At the LDP Upper House political fundraiser in March of this year, he caused controversy when he said, “I don’t like the idea of being with a woman,” referring to his experience in the 2009 general election. Party officials expressed relief that Mr. Mori did not have to give a speech.

Was this “crisis management” just before the summit?

(Some titles in the text are omitted.)

  • Photo Takeshi Kinugawa

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