Is he aiming to reclaim the office for the third time or to become the “Dark Lord of 2035”?
On December 6, a political fundraiser was held at a hotel in Tokyo to unveil former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (67) as the 10th new chairman of the Seiwa Policy Research Association, the largest faction of the Liberal Democratic Party.
The faction originated as the Seiwa-kai, founded by former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda in 1979. Mr. Abe’s father, former Foreign Minister Shintaro, once served as the second chairman. In the Showa era, the Seiwa-kai competed with the Heisei Kenkyukai (former Takeshita Faction), and produced four prime ministers: Yoshiro Mori (1984), Junichiro Koizumi (1979), Yasuo Fukuda (1985), and Abe.
Even today, it is the largest faction with 95 members, more than 40 ahead of the 53 members of the second faction, the Shiko-kai (Aso faction).
I pledge to do my utmost to fulfill my responsibilities as chairman of the faction that has been the backbone of the LDP and Japanese politics for nearly half a century.
Mr. Abe said this with great enthusiasm, as if he was elated to have established the Abe faction for the first time in 30 years, counting from his father. His face was a little chubbier, his wrinkled hands tauter, and he repeated the gesture he used when he was prime minister, waving his arms in the air during his 10-minute speech.
In his 10-minute speech, he repeatedly waved his arms in the air, a gesture he used when he was prime minister. I’d like you to share some of it with us.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who came to the meeting as a guest of honor, lifted him up. In addition to his condescension, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who was there as a guest of honor, spoke of his interactions with world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow, England, and rubbed it in.
When I was talking to familiar world leaders, they kept asking me how Prime Minister Abe was doing. One of the heads of state said, ‘Shinzo has won six consecutive national elections. He told me that he had been taught the secret of victory. I haven’t been taught that secret yet. I’d like to get some valuable guidance from Chairman Abe for the Upper House election (chuckles).
Mr. Abe responded with an annoyed smile on his face.
Abe’s ally, Taro Aso, 81, vice president of Japan, and Toshimitsu Mogi, 66, secretary general of the Takeshita Faction, also came to congratulate the prime minister, who set a record for the longest postwar tenure at seven years and eight months.
The former prime minister, who set a record for the longest postwar tenure of seven years and eight months, was visited by people one after another, who responded with smiles.
The largest faction, which appears to be in good shape, is in a state of unrest.
Sanae Takaichi, 60, who supported the party in the presidential election in September, has been discussed to join the party. However, there is a deep-rooted antipathy within the faction toward Takaichi, who left the party when it was in opposition. When he participated in the party as the chairman of the policy research committee, Mr. Takaichi said, as if to provoke him.
I am Sanae Takaichi, a member of no faction.
The faction is further divided into the Fukuda faction and the Abe faction. Because of the power of Mr. Abe, General Affairs Chairman Tatsuo Fukuda, 54, who is the “Prince of the Fukuda Faction,” does not show his ambition. However, if Mr. Koichi is treated incorrectly, it could cause friction and create the seeds of a factional split. A member of the House of Councillors who belongs to the Seiwa-kai said.
The candidates for the presidency are Koichi Hagiuda, former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; Hirofumi Shimomura, former Minister of Education; Yasutoshi Nishimura, former Minister of State for Covid-19; and Mr. Fukuda. Mr. Abe will probably nominate one of them at some point, but because of the lack of decisiveness, whoever he chooses will be dissatisfied with the omissions and their close associates. If he is forced to nominate a candidate from another faction in the next presidential election, it may lead to a decline in his power of influence.
It is said that Kishida, who showed his willingness to follow Abe’s lead in his speeches, backtracked on the appointments of the chief cabinet secretary and secretary general that Abe wanted. It is believed that he cleverly took advantage of the resignation of the current secretary general, Akira Amari, after he failed to win the primary election. He appointed Mogi, the foreign minister of the former Takeshita faction, as the new secretary general and slotted Yoshimasa Hayashi, the former defense minister and the number two man in the Kishida faction, into the vacant foreign minister’s post.
Kishida told his aides, “We finally have someone in the cabinet whom we know and can rely on.
Kishida is said to have told his aides.
On the other hand, a member of the House of Councillors pointed out that Abe’s frustration reached its peak with the appointment of the foreign minister.
The Hayashi family and the Abe family both ran for office in the mid-term election system and fought for votes. The Hayashi family and the Abe family ran together during the mid-term election system and have been fighting for votes. Former Prime Minister Abe’s fourth district in Yamaguchi will disappear, and is expected to be merged with Hayashi’s third district to become the ‘new third district. It is inevitable that Mr. Hayashi and Mr. Abe will face off in a race to be approved as prime minister, and Mr. Abe, who lost 20,000 votes in this election, and Mr. Hayashi, who is aiming for the prime minister’s seat, have different momentum.
Mr. Abe’s return to the front stage is aimed at showing off his power and putting pressure on Prime Minister Kishida, he said.
The back-and-forth between Mr. Abe, who is now the head of the largest faction, and Mr. Kishida, who is now in power, will continue until next summer’s upper house election. If the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wins the Upper House election, the Kishida administration may be able to extend its term. On the other hand, if the Liberal Democratic Party loses the Upper House election, Mr. Abe may try to replace the prime minister’s head as the dark shogun, or he may take over the post for the third time. ……
Reporting and writing by： Daisuke Iwasaki Photography： Takeshi Kinugawa