Prime Minister Kishida’s “back-funding issue” has caused people’s minds to drift away… “Benefactor who pleads his innocence” is severely punished, but “punishment of a heavyweight is only a formality. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Prime Minister Kishida’s “back-funding issue” has caused people’s minds to drift away… “Benefactor who pleads his innocence” is severely punished, but “punishment of a heavyweight is only a formality.

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He himself is “blameless. Some in the party complain that he is too hard on others and too lenient on himself.

On the morning of April 5, a day after the 39 persons involved in the factional slush fund issue were punished simultaneously, two men visited the rooms of LDP members in the House of Councilors building, which extends to the 12th floor, and stated, “Thank you very much for all you have done for us.

I would like to thank you for all the help you have given me. I will be going freelance, but I will do my best.

The man who greeted them with a refreshing expression was Hiroshige Seko, 61, former secretary-general of the House of Councillors. He handed out business cards bearing only the newly printed name “House of Councilors Member Hiroshige Seko,” and bowed deeply.

Mr. Seko was given a recommendation to leave the party, the second most severe punishment from the party. He has submitted a notice of resignation and it has been accepted. If he wins the next election, there is a possibility that he will be reinstated, but he has resigned from the LDP, the upper house caucus, and the words ‘Liberal Democratic Party’ have disappeared from his business card.

The man standing by the entrance, about 6’3″ with a short hair cut, is his secretary, Takiichiro Hatsumura. He was public secretary to the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and ran unsuccessfully for the Nagasaki 1st Constituency in 2009. He is currently working for Mr. Seko, but according to a parliamentary secretary in the Abe faction, “Mr. Seko is not a member of Mr. Hatsumura’s party,

Mr. Seko’s decision to have Mr. Hatsumura as his secretary is an attitude that says, “I am the successor to Prime Minister Abe. Most of the Abe faction members looked at him coldly.

The “Mere Old Man” is told to have said, “I am the successor to Prime Minister Abe. As for how he greeted the guests, he did not go into one of the rooms.

He spent a minute or two in each room, greeting people with a rusty expression, but his footsteps came to a halt in front of room 1110. He repeatedly checked the room through the slightly ajar door and, assuming that the owner was not there, entered.

The “master of No. 1110” is Mr. Shoji Nishida, 65, a member of the House of Councilors. The “Lord of 1110” is Shoji Nishida, 65, a member of the House of Councilors, who took a tough stance against Seko and other Abe faction officials for repeatedly saying “I don’t know” at the Political Ethics Examination Council and other meetings of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Seko had been acting as the “Don of the House of Councillors,” but he suddenly changed overnight. Because he had been so overbearing, we have heard no sympathy or regret for him.

Shioya said he would have been satisfied with a word from Prime Minister Kishida.

On the other hand, former Education Minister Tadashi Shiotani, 74, chairman of the Abe faction, who like Seko was also recommended to leave the party, is receiving a growing outpouring of sympathy.

He said, “The disposition was made based on a misconception of the facts. I had nothing to do with the faction’s accounting. It’s upsetting.”

Shiotani said he supported Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, 66, in his election for president, and that he remained in close contact with Kishida “from time to time,” even after the inauguration of the new administration. When asked about his feelings toward Kishida, who continued to support him, Shiotani lowered his gaze and said, “It’s a pity.

I thought he might have a word or two to say. If he had said something like, ‘I have no choice but to take action because of the plight of the LDP,’ I might have said, ‘Yes, I understand.

Although he is one of the most senior members of the Abe faction, he is not one of the “Five,” as they are called, and no one in the Abe faction is unaware that he was made the scapegoat for the punishment.

Mr. Shioya, who was punished for his actions, has been the subject of a string of sympathetic comments, and voices of dissatisfaction are leaking from the Abe faction, such as, “The basis for the punishment is unclear,” and “Is the prime minister president not responsible for his actions?

The Abe faction is aiming to minimize the aftermath of the disciplinary action, break the deadlock with a visit to the U.S., and win reelection in the presidential election in the fall. It appears that this intention is not quite on target.

However, most of the Abe faction’s top leaders have lost their centripetal force as a result of the punishment. Former METI Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura (61), former Minister of Education Hirofumi Shimomura (69), and former National Policy Committee Chairman Takeshi Takagi (68), all of whom had served as factional secretary-generals, were given “party membership suspension” and will be forced to fight as independent candidates in the next election without LDP recognition. After the punishment, Mr. Nishimura said, “I feel I have lost everything.

I feel I have lost everything. I will start all over again from scratch, with nothing left to lose.

Seko’s business card with the LDP name missing

Amid the severe punishments handed down to Abe faction officials, former Policy Research Council Chairman Kōichi Hagiuda (60) and former Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu (61) were both suspended from their party positions for one year.

Mr. Hagiuda was one of the five most influential members of the party and was only suspended despite the fact that he had failed to report over 20 million yen. He has already resigned from his position as chairman of the policy research committee, and there are voices within the Abe faction that this is nothing more than a formal punishment. A mid-level member of the Abe faction, as mentioned above, commented.

He is well known to former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, and in addition to his experience in organizing the younger generation, he is in close contact with former Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, who is at the core of Kishida’s anti-Kishida movement. By retaining Hagiuda for the presidential election in the fall, he will be able to attract younger members of the Abe faction and use them according to the political situation.

Furthermore, Mr. Hagiuda was allowed to continue as chairman of the Tokyo Metropolitan Federation of Trade Unions, even though his position was supposed to be suspended. The Tokyo Metropolitan Federation of Trade Unions (TMF) is a separate organization from the party headquarters, and the position of TMF chairman is “not subject to any disciplinary action,” according to the argument.

As president of the Tokyo Metropolitan Federation of Trade Unions, he is also the point of contact for Governor Yuriko Koike. Koike’s ability to discern the situation with her unique sense of smell has not diminished. When he makes a move on national politics, Mr. Hagiuda will serve as a negotiator.

At a press conference on May 5, I asked Mr. Shiotani if he thought there was any arbitrary punishment, to which he responded shortly, “I don’t think there was any arbitrary punishment.

I think there was some arbitrary, future consideration.”

We wonder if the Kishida administration, which has been using the simultaneous punishment as a political tactic in anticipation of the presidential election in September, has any intention of getting to the bottom of the factional slush fund issue.

  • Interview and text by Daisuke Iwasaki PHOTO Takeshi Kinugawa

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