With one month to go until the general election, the Kishida administration, which has become a “short-term limited government” for the time being, is in low spirits. His approval rating is quite low. The lineup of the cabinet is lackluster. Akira Amari, secretary general of the Aso faction, has taken control of the party. The money scandal has been ignored. The real power in the Prime Minister’s Office is in the hands of Takashi Shimada, a parliamentary secretary from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Prime Minister Kishida began making appointments to his cabinet before the extraordinary Diet session and announced them in rapid succession. Then, without pause, he announced that the general election would be held on October 19, with the polls opening on October 31. The ruling and opposition parties are all in a panic over the earlier than expected general election. The same is true for the bureaucrats at Kasumigaseki. In particular, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), which would be in violation of the Constitution if it did not deliver ballots to Japanese residents overseas, is scrambling left and right. Why was Kishida in such a hurry?
Why did he appoint a former bureaucrat with several titles after leaving the government?
The number of secretaries to the prime minister had previously been seven, but this July, under the Kan administration, the number was increased to eight. This time, Mr. Takashi Shimada is the “first” of the eight. Shimada, who has become Prime Minister Kishida’s chief advisor, is said to be tasked with a big mission.
Shimada graduated from Kaisei High School, entered the University of Tokyo, graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, and joined the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry. After an extremely successful career as a bureaucrat, he retired in 2019. After that, he joined the “Nuclear Damage Liability and Decommissioning Support Corporation” as a special advisor.
After retiring from the bureaucracy, he has served as a special advisor to Dream Incubator, President and CEO of Net Assessment, Advisor to Seibu Holdings, Director of FUJIFILM Holdings, Auditor at the Yomiuri Shimbun Osaka Head Office, Auditor at the Yomiuri Shimbun Western Head Office, Auditor at Nippon Television Holdings, Auditor at Nippon Television Network Corporation, Director at Dream Incubator, and Director at Nippon Television Network Corporation. He has also served as a director of Dream Incubator.
“He has held many titles, including auditor at the Yomiuri Shimbun’s western headquarters, auditor at Nippon Television Holdings, auditor at Nippon Television Network Corporation, and director at Dream Incubator. Since he received remuneration from various organizations, his total income must have been quite high even after he left office. That’s why he was kept alive as a servant of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Kishida’s sword in Abe’s pocket
The fact that Shimada, a graduate of the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and a former vice minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, was appointed as secretary to the Prime Minister was an extremely “unusual appointment” (according to the media). This is because of Shimada’s work on the restart of nuclear power plants, which he was involved in while still in office. This has come to fruition in the Kishida administration.
“Shimada’s arrival at the prime minister’s office was recommended by Naoya Imai, the secretary to Prime Minister Abe. He was recommended by Prime Minister Abe’s secretary-general Naoya Imai, who has strong connections to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as well as by Secretary-General Amari. Amari is trying to use Shimada to get the Kishida administration to promote nuclear power.
The Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) were damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, triggering a radioactive leak that has taken decades to decommission. The problem is the disposal of the contaminated water that continues to accumulate. Under the previous administration of Yoshihide Suga, it was decided that contaminated water would be released into the ocean only after it had been fully treated. Since the beginning of last year, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has been visiting the site and is in the process of finalizing the plan with local fishery officials.
“Mr. Shimada began by asking about the treated water. IAEA “Mr. Shimada will first obtain the IAEA’s approval to release the treated water into the ocean. After that, he will advise Prime Minister Kishida to reorganize the electric power network and start restructuring the East-West electric power network. The energy administration takes a major step forward.
Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Nihon Genpo Electric Power Co. join the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Niigata Prefecture, which has been unable to operate under TEPCO’s management. MOX In other words, the appointment of the Prime Minister’s Office is a major move.
In other words, this appointment by the Prime Minister’s Office is for the purpose of restarting and replacing the nuclear power plants. This is what the unusual appointment of Mr. Shimada is all about.
Promoting nuclear power or changing the government?
Even Naoya Imai, who was said to be a shrewd advisor to the cabinet, was unable to promote nuclear power. Shimada is a powerful alumnus of the bureaucracy who has been indispensable in pushing for this. Imai will continue to be in charge of energy policy in the Kishida administration. And within the cabinet is Minister of State for Economic Revitalization Daishiro Yamashiro, the spearhead of the pro-nuclear movement.
“Imai is ‘for Abe’ anyway. And Imai’s weapon of choice is to ‘do whatever it takes. NHK Political Science Department. He once gave a reporter from NHK’s Political Science Department a handheld camera to do an exclusive interview with Abe. He will do whatever it takes to get Abe to do “politics. He doesn’t care what it takes. He can’t simultaneously restart nuclear power plants, which divide public opinion, and revise the constitution, so he probably has a scenario drawn up in his mind to have the Kishida administration take care of energy stabilization, which will lead to economic revival, and then revise the constitution when Abe resumes his post.
Secretary General Amari is the chief advisor to the Nuclear Power Replacing Diet. Under the Kishida administration, Japan’s nuclear power issue may take a major turn. However, the Kishida cabinet’s approval rating is stagnant.
“But the Kishida cabinet’s approval rating is still low, which is unusually low for the so-called honeymoon period. In the past, when the approval rating was low at the time the cabinet was formed, a change of government occurred in the ‘next election’ after the government hit bottom. The current situation is very similar to this.
The Kishida cabinet is said to be “stable for the time being” and “tasteless,” but its mission is to promote nuclear power generation and expedite the revision of the Constitution. In fact, it may be a very dense and radical cabinet.
Reporting and writing by： Shutaro Iwashiro