Acting Secretary General Seiko Noda announced her emergency candidacy as the fourth candidate for the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on the day before the announcement date, starting the most heated race in the history of the LDP presidential election.
First contact in 10 years. The telephone offensive has begun.
“How are you? I’m doing well. I look forward to hearing from you.
“Are you busy now? Let’s have a nice dinner when you’re done. I’ll see you later.
“I know you’re going through a lot, but I’m counting on you.
The cell phone of a Liberal Democratic Party member rang. Sometimes the caller is displayed, other times an unknown number is displayed. When I pick up the phone, I hear a rather high-pitched, rapid-fire voice. The caller is Shinzo Abe.
The caller is former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The calls from the former prime minister, known as “Abe Phone” among LDP lawmakers, have become more intense with each passing day since Sanae Takaichi, former Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, officially ran for the presidency.
“To be precise, from the moment Kishida slipped up in a TV appearance and said he was going to ‘re-examine the Morikake issue,’ Abe started calling all sorts of people. It’s about retaining Takaichi. With the general election coming up, Abe’s children want to prioritize the ‘face of the election’ at all costs. On the other hand, Abe doesn’t want Kono, Ishiba or Noda to become prime minister. At the very least, it should have been Kishida, but that idea was put on hold. That’s how angry he was,” said a former LDP cabinet minister.
In his home prefecture of Yamaguchi, one prefectural assemblyman said, “I got a phone call for the first time in 10 years. The momentum of Abe’s phone is tremendous.
Young and middle-ranking Diet members shrink from direct calls
It is said that Abe’s phone has now become like an incantation for the younger members of the party to “bind themselves to Takaichi.
In the eyes of the public, Abe is a “former prime minister who is finished,” but he retains his power within the party. Young and middle-ranking lawmakers have shrunk and are unable to express their support for Kono outwardly. However, Takaichi cannot win the election; his head will be on the line in the general election in a month.
The young lawmakers are being forced to make a “choice” between prioritizing organization and self-preservation in accordance with their faction and party leaders, or sticking to their pride as politicians. It seems that Abe, who has been in power for a historically long period of time, is not yet a wastrel.
Since the weekend after the announcement of the presidential election, the Takaichi supporters have been posting online ballots with the name “Takaichi Sanae” written all over them. This is a propaganda campaign aimed at LDP party members. In this way, the Abe/Takaichi coalition is deploying information tactics that seem to demonstrate its overwhelming organizational power against the backdrop of the LDP’s core supporters.
“In the first round of voting, most expect Kono to win outright. The biggest focus will be on the second place. Will it be Kishida or Takaichi who is gaining ground? Koichi, who was initially considered to be a “bubble” candidate, is in a surprisingly strong pursuit.
The reason for this?
“The reason for this is that the bereaved families’ association, the energy industry, a part of the medical association, and various religious groups are likely to come out in support of Takaichi. The reason for this is that the bereaved family association, the energy industry, some doctors, and various religious groups are likely to support Takaichi. 11 The other factions have at most two chapters. Other factions have only two to five branch representatives at most, but you can see that the Hosoda faction has a tremendous influence.
This is the full support of the “old guard” of the LDP supporters and the largest faction. The power of Abe Phone is not small.
Kono, on the other hand, is eager to gain more votes in an attempt to escape. The situation for Fumio Kishida, who got off to a rocketing start, has become more difficult, and in the debate organized by the Japan Press Club with all four candidates, Noda was the most relaxed and straightforward in his speech. But he is unlikely to advance to a runoff election.
“This is a presidential election run by a former prime minister who left office due to suspicions and ill health. You can see how old-fashioned this party is.
A LDP official muttered in resignation. Will the “common sense” of the LDP members prevail or will “tradition” prevail? ……
Reporting and writing by： Shutaro Iwashiro