The new president of the Liberal Democratic Party, Fumio Kishida, is causing a stir. The LDP’s new president, Fumio Kishida, is causing a stir because he has appointed former General Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi, who came in third in the presidential election, as the party’s four-party policy chief, while relegating former Foreign Minister Taro Kono, who came in second, to the “last seat” on the party executive.
“As a result of Mr. Kishida’s cold treatment of Mr. Kono, some young LDP lawmakers who supported Mr. Kono said, “The ‘stonewalling of the Koishikawa coalition’ is likely to proceed.
“It has been pointed out to me that I have a weak ability to communicate. Mr. Kono will make up for my weaknesses.
Mr. Kishida explained the reason for appointing Mr. Kono as the head of the Public Relations Division. It is understandable that Mr. Kono, who has 2.43 million followers on Twitter, would be expected to be a good communicator, but almost no LDP lawmakers have taken Mr. Kishida’s comments at face value.
Kono’s neighbors complain, “It’s too bad that the most popular man in the nation, who has served as foreign minister and defense minister, is being put in the last seat.
Even former acting secretary-general Seiko Noda, who came in last in the presidential election, is being considered for a cabinet position, and Kono is in a state of “solitary defeat. Akira Amari, the former chairman of the Tax Commission who opposed Mr. Kono’s candidacy and a major figure in the Aso faction to which Mr. Kono belongs, has been appointed secretary general, and Taro Aso, the chairman of the Aso faction, controls the party headquarters as vice president.
Mr. Kishida seems to be hoping that by bringing in his three rivals for the presidency as party officials and cabinet members, he will be able to suppress criticism of the Kishida administration by their respective supporters.
Mr. Aso has a history of harshly criticizing Mr. Nobuteru Ishihara, who was preparing to run for the presidency in 2012 but refused to support then President Sadakazu Tanigaki, calling him a “Heisei no Akechi Mitsuhide” for forcing him to run despite his position as secretary general. Under the leadership of Aso and Amari, it would be difficult for Mr. Kishida to run against him in the next presidential election from the standpoint of a party official or cabinet member.
A veteran of the Kishida faction stresses that the Kishida administration is said to be ‘a puppet of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mr. Aso,’ and that it has made clever appointments to incorporate Mr. Kono and others who could be his opponents again.
This is similar to the move by former Prime Minister Abe, who won the 2012 presidential election in a decisive vote against former Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba, to nip his rival Ishiba in the bud by appointing him as secretary general. Given the fact that Ishiba supported the Abe administration as secretary general and minister in charge of regional development and was forced to sit out the 2015 presidential election, it is highly likely that Kono will “stonewall” him once he accepts the post of head of the Public Relations Headquarters.
Incidentally, Ishiba lost his third run for the presidency in 2018, and has been forced down the path of being derided as a “political critic”. Recently, former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yuji Yamamoto and former Vice Finance Minister Sadahisa Furukawa, both members of the Ishiba faction, submitted their resignations one after another, leaving the faction with 15 members and in marked decline. On October 1, Ishiba held a press conference in his hometown of Tottori, and the media even leaked information about the press conference, wondering if he would finally resign or announce his retirement from politics.
Shinjiro: The Price of Fighting
Shinjiro Koizumi, who had formed the “Koishikawa coalition” with Kono and Ishiba, suffered the same damage as Kono’s decline. He criticized the Hosoda faction, which is the largest faction in the party and the faction from which Mr. Abe hails, during the presidential election. If you want to upset the direction of the government’s priority on renewable energy, we must definitely fight with all our might.
It can be said that Mr. Koizumi has inherited from his father, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the ability to use the popularity of the Japanese people as a backdrop for one-issue battles, but his “fighting power” is far too different from that of his father, who promoted reforms backed by the power of large factions. The plan will inevitably be reviewed by Mr. Takaichi and Mr. Amari, the secretary general of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, who has a great deal of influence in the ministry, and Mr. Koizumi said, “I’m sure there will be some repercussions. Koizumi had to admit, “There will be a certain amount of repercussions, because that is the reality of power struggles.
What the three members of the “Koishikawa coalition,” as they are called by the media, have in common is that although they are well known for their brash words and deeds, they are not very good at socializing and do not seem to have a wide range of true friends. In contrast to Tatsuo Fukuda, who was selected as the new chairman of the General Affairs Council after being elected three times, who gathered about 90 young lawmakers and demanded party reforms, the new chairman of the General Affairs Council is a man who says, “I am! I’m the one! In contrast, Tatsuo Fukuda, who was selected in the first round of the election, gathered about 90 young members and demanded party reform.
After the election, Mr. Koizumi said after Mr. Kishida’s election, “I think that steady activities are important. I think that building relationships with Diet members on a daily basis is also very important, as is building steady ties with the public and party members.” However, the attitude of the three men differs greatly from that of Mr. Kishida, who has worked steadily for his friends while serving as the chairman of the Koike Kai (now Kishida Faction).
They are “lone wolves” who have been unable to establish a firm position within the LDP, despite being ranked as the top candidates for the next prime minister in various opinion polls. In the political world where the media’s slogan is “Take a comment critical of the administration from Ishiba and a poem from Koizumi,” will the day come when Kono joins the ranks?
Mr. Ishiba made a meaningful comment about the future of the coalition, saying, “The association of people who share the same feelings should not stop with the presidential election,” but a veteran of the Kishida faction said, “The ‘pebble river coalition’ is just a small stone falling into a river. There will be no waves,” he said confidently.
Former Foreign Minister Tanaka Makiko described the 1998 presidential race between Keizo Obuchi, Shizuro Kajiyama, and Junichiro Koizumi as “a battle of ordinary people, military men, and eccentrics.
Reporting and writing： Kenichi Ogura
photo： Kyodo News