In the secretary-general’s office on the fourth floor of the LDP headquarters in Nagata-cho, Toshihiro Nikai, 82, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has recently been pondering alone. He has not been able to find a successor for himself. A member of Nikai’s supporters’ association said, “He looks at me like I’m the authority.
A member of Nikai’s supporters’ group said, “Nikai is seen as a figure of power, but he really wants to hand over the reins to his son and retire soon. In his hometown, people are even saying that he will not participate in the next general election.
Even if Nikai wants to retire, there are circumstances that prevent him from doing so easily.
“There are members of the Diet who are vigilantly watching for Nikai’s retirement.
There are members of the LDP who belong to the Nikai faction. The person who wants to take over from Nikai is Hiroshige Seko, 58, a member of the House of Councillors.
“Mr. Seko has been planning to switch to the House of Representatives for some time. Mr. Nikai has been planning to switch to the House of Representatives for some time, and he feels that Wakayama Ward 3, which is Mr. Nikai’s constituency, is the ground of the Seko family as it is the birthplace of his grandfather, Koichi. Mr. Seko had said that he would not run for the House of Representatives as long as Mr. Nikai, the secretary general who has done so much for him, was still in office, but it would be a different story if he were to be replaced by his son. If Mr. Nikai forces his son to become the official candidate, he is ready to fight head-on even if he is independent. Mr. Nikai thinks that it will be difficult for his son to beat Seko in the election, so he can’t just retire.
This is not the only source of headache. It seems that Secretary General Nikai has not yet decided on his successor. The secretary general has three sons, and the candidates for his succession are his eldest son, Toshiki, 56, and his third son, Nobuyasu, 43.
“Nobuyasu, the third son, has a good reputation locally. After retiring from All Nippon Airways, he worked as secretary to Nikai’s secretary general. He has already moved from Tokyo to Wakayama and has begun making the rounds to greet supporters’ groups. Meanwhile, his eldest son, Toshiki, is in charge of Nikai’s office in his hometown of Gobo City, but his reputation is not good.
In fact, he ran for mayor of Gobo in 2004 and lost badly. This was despite the fact that Shinjiro Koizumi and Tomomi Inada came to support him. However, his eldest son is still very motivated. It is a famous story that he shouted at his third son, who was making the rounds to greet people in his hometown, “Who are you refusing to do this for? Mr. Nikai’s heart is probably set on the third son, but the eldest son is probably too cute to ignore.
Will he be succeeded by his eldest son or his third son? The only way to find out the truth is to ask him. In mid-September, this magazine visited Toshiki at the Nikai office in Gobo City.
Is it you who will succeed Nikai as secretary general?
Is it a done deal with you?
So, Nobuyasu-san will be the one?
“I don’t know who will succeed me, but right now I’m concentrating on the election of my father’s representative.
Surprisingly, he declared that he was not the successor, and that his father, Toshihiro Nikai, was planning to run for the House of Representatives in the next election. However, it is common for politicians to say the exact opposite of what is in their heart. Toshiki’s words should not be taken at face value. Journalist Tetsuo Suzuki says, “I really want to retire and give my son the land.
“Even if he really wants to retire and let his son take over, Nikai will not announce it until the last minute. There are two reasons. One is that if there is not enough time before the election, there will be no time to look for a candidate from the public, and there is a high possibility that Nikai’s name will be the one who can gather the votes. Besides, it will also give Seko no chance to take advantage of him. Another reason is the presidential election. If he announces his retirement, even if he is the secretary general of Nikai, he will lose his centripetal force and the faction will not be able to hold together. In the midst of a power struggle, I can’t talk about retiring, even if I wanted to.
The announcement of the Lower House election is expected to be made in early November. Just before that time, Secretary General Nikai may make a surprise retirement.
From “FRIDAY” October 8, 2021 issue
Photo: Takeshi Kinugawa： Tsuyoshi Kinugawa Kei Kato Kyodo News Co.