Satsuki Katayama and the Nikkai Faction’s “Surprising Struggle” May Become the Epicenter of a Political Realignment | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Satsuki Katayama and the Nikkai Faction’s “Surprising Struggle” May Become the Epicenter of a Political Realignment

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The “father” has been disgraced. In retaliation, the factions will work together to crush him in the summer Upper House election. Katayama will not be able to get endorsements from various groups, so he will have no choice but to go after floating votes.

Senior officials of the LDP’s Nikai faction (Shishokai) reportedly did not hide their anger toward Satsuki Katayama, the former minister in charge of regional development, who caused the resignation fiasco. The “father” is Toshihiro Nikai, former secretary-general of the LDP, and some in the Nikai faction refer to the former secretary-general as the factional leader.

The anger stemmed from the fact that Satsuki Katayama, a member of the House of Councilors, was absent from meetings of the Nikai faction and plotted to move to another faction. Of course, mere absence is not enough to express such anger. It is not necessary to cite the yakuza’s “leaving the gang,” but it is a common occurrence in this world that the wrong “way to quit” can lead to trouble. Mr. Katayama’s behavior must have been very poor.

Mr. Katayama, looking a bit tired, responding to a reporter’s interview.

On February 21, the Nikkai Faction sent a letter to its members recommending Katayama’s expulsion. The letter, titled “Report on House of Councilors Member Satsuki Katayama,” was signed by Ryota Takeda, former general secretary of the Nikkai Faction, and reads as follows

<The recent activities of the House of Councillors are an act that discredits the members of the Diet who belong to the Shishokai and is damaging to the honor of the Shishokai, and cannot be easily dismissed. Therefore, in accordance with the instructions from Chairman Nikai, I have recommended that all officers of the Shishokai resign as of today after consultation with all officers.

Now, the situation does not end here, which is the frightening part of Nagatacho. On February 22, Katayama repeated one strong word after another in his room at the assembly hall about receiving the recommendation from the Nikai faction to withdraw from the association.

Each politician has no freedom and is treated as if he or she were an object.

The contents of the letter are being reported in the media, even though it is not sealed. I thought this was total harassment.

I think it’s defamation against me and, in some cases, a violation of human rights. You are throwing stones behind my back at someone who clearly wants to leave for something he doesn’t remember.”

He delivered a 15-minute “rebuttal” in fiery language, but when asked by a reporter about it, Nikai bristled and brushed it off, saying, “I didn’t hear (the rebuttal). Later, a letter was issued under the joint names of four senior Nikai faction members, stating, “The faction cannot allow Mr. Katayama’s self-protective and erroneous statements to continue, and we are compelled to protest them vigorously.

They even issued a document denying the facts. The level of anger is palpable.

Mr. Katayama stated that he had firmly informed Mr. Nikai of his intention to leave the association, and added, “There is no more formal way to communicate this,” “It is not about whether (Mr. Nikai) approves or disapproves, but politicians are here by their own political activities and by their votes. Even if you call it a faction, it is not an official organization of the LDP,” he insists.

But why did he cross the “dangerous bridge” of quitting his faction, even to the point of offending a leading LDP figure? A reporter from the political section explains.

Mr. Katayama may have been impatient with the upcoming House of Councillors election in the summer. Kenichi, the eldest son of former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, a close ally of Mr. Nikai, was the second official candidate for the national proportional representation as well as Mr. Katayama. There may be a fear that they will compete for votes.

Furthermore, Mr. Nikai has stepped down as secretary-general and become a non-mainstream member of the Kishida administration. He cannot expect the kind of influence he once had, and he cannot expect strong support for himself,” said a reporter from the political section.

Some observers believe that Katayama is aiming to join the Abe faction, the largest faction in the party. At the press conference, although he did not give specific names, he hinted that “I will be able to make an announcement (on how I will conduct myself) at the party convention (on March 13).

This is probably the reason for the sudden increase in his conservative remarks.” He is trying to curry favor with the Abe faction. However, there are many members of the faction, including METI Minister Koichi Hagiuda, who dislike her. Even Sanae Takaichi, the policy chief who was directly invited by Abe, has yet to become a member, so what can one say about Ms. Katayama? I wonder if she will be able to join easily, considering the pressure from the Nikkai faction.

Mr. Nikai’s skill is so impressive that even former Prime Minister Abe was impressed, saying, “He has the best political sense in Nagatacho. Will Mr. Katayama, under pressure from the Nikai faction, be able to take the path he desires? The Abe faction will not easily accept the move, and Mr. Katayama will not remain silent about it. This “small family disturbance” may in fact be the signal for a factional realignment.

  • Interview and text Daisuke Iwasaki

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