Why don’t you go to a boat race?
Takehide Yoshikawa, 40, a member of the House of Representatives, who was reported to have been drinking with his father, is still hiding in the shadows. Even his secretary is not at his office at the Diet building in Nagatacho. When we asked one of his longtime supporters in Shizuoka’s 5th Constituency about his whereabouts, he replied, “I don’t know.
He left the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) after the Weekly Post reported that he had lured an 18-year-old female student into drinking, lured her to a hotel, and paid her 40,000 yen in cash. A supporter of Hosono continued with a sigh.
He lost four consecutive primary elections to Goshi Hosono. Even so, each time he lost, the LDP’s proportional votes gave him a badge of honor, so to speak. Even if he did not win, he could have made up the difference by working diligently in his daily activities, but he was known as a boat racing enthusiast, and there were rumors more than once that he had been playing around in disguise. I wasn’t surprised by the reports of his drinking with his dad.”
On July 15, Kikkawa, who had been silent for more than a month since the report, updated his blog, posting a 5,200-character long article in which he forcefully defended himself, saying that he was not aware that the woman was of legal drinking age. He denied that he would resign immediately, saying that he would confirm the woman’s age through the lawsuit and “make a decision on how to deal with the situation as soon as possible. He denied that he would resign immediately.
The point is that the LDP has left the party.”
A mid-level member of the Koikekai (Kishida Faction), to which Mr. Kikkawa also belonged, stated as much. By leaving the party, he appears to have taken a certain amount of responsibility. Even Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (64), who is not a member of the party, cannot give direct orders because he is not a member of the party, and his departure from the party is determined by his own will, he said.
He does not seem to be answering the prime minister’s phone calls, but he does seem to be responding to those of his close associate, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara. As a member of Kishida’s faction, I will not support him in the next election and will let Yoshikawa do his best on his own. If he wins his constituency by himself, he will be recognized as having completed his purification process.
Since the Cabinet currently enjoys a high approval rating and the issue had no impact on the recent House of Councillors election, they see no reason to force Kishida to resign as a Diet member as well. The aforementioned councilor continues.
By letting him stay on even as a guess, he can use it as a bargaining chip with the distant Nikai faction in the future, rather than abandoning him and having Hosono of the Nikai faction take the 5th Shizuoka district.
With the Seiwa-kai (Abe Faction), the largest faction of the LDP, now without a leader and too occupied with keeping the faction together, it is unlikely to make any public moves until former Prime Minister Abe’s state funeral, scheduled for September 27 at the Budokan, is held. The extraordinary Diet session is scheduled to convene on September 30, but will Kikkawa show up?
If the session is extended, the extraordinary Diet session will last beyond December. If the session is extended, the extraordinary Diet session will last beyond December, and he cannot be absent for the entire period. So, he will probably hold a press conference while Nagata-cho is being shaken by his relationship with the Unification Church, repeat what he wrote in his blog, and sit out until the next election, claiming that he has fulfilled his accountability.
On June 30, Councilor Kikkawa received a year-end allowance of 2.86 million yen, equivalent to a summer bonus. According to Mr. Kikkawa’s income report for Reiwa 2021, his real estate income was 9.33 million yen, and his annual expenses, including his salary as a parliamentary secretary, were 22.84 million yen. Mr. Kikkawa had an income of over 30 million yen. While the general public is suffering from inflation, Mr. Kikkawa remains a Diet member and can continue to play the Nagatacho power game.
Interview and text by Daisuke Iwasaki： Daisuke Iwasaki