The Future of the Abe Faction: Leadership Dilemma and Factional Struggles

2023-07-10 10:15:50
2023-07-10 18:15 United News Network corner 24 hours Photo / Associated Press

“One year after Abe’s death, the vacant faction leader is still unreplaced…” After former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed, the leader of the largest faction in the Liberal Democratic Party—the Abe faction—has been vacant so far succeed. The Abe faction (Qinghe Policy Research Association) with 100 members is the largest and most influential political faction in the party, but now it is facing the dilemma that Abe will not be able to choose the chairman after Abe. From the “two-headed system” temporarily represented by two elders last year, to the “five-member system” collectively led by the five strongest members of the party, what is the future of the Abe faction? There are five factions who are not content with this, when will the political struggle for the position of the faction come to the fore? A year after Abe’s death, the remaining factional issues are in chaos.

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The largest faction within the Liberal Democratic Party-the Qinghe Policy Research Association-the original leader of the faction is the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, referred to as the “Abe faction” (Abe Shinzo will take over as the chairman of the faction in 2021, and was previously Hiroyuki Hosoda, so it is called as “Hosoda School”). Taking May 2023 as statistics, the number of factions in the Liberal Democratic Party is as follows: the Abe faction (100 people), the Aso faction (55 people), the Motegi faction (54 people), the Kishida faction (46 people), the second class faction ( 42 people), Moriyama faction (8 people). Basically, the faction structure has not changed drastically in the past year. However, with the victory of the House of Representatives election in the Yamaguchi constituency, the members of the Abe faction have increased from 93 in April 2022 to 100 this year, and they are still firmly seated as the largest faction in the Liberal Democratic Party. .

After Abe passed away, there was a rumor that “Abe faction may split.” Although no obvious cracks were seen in the party after a year, the headache for members of the faction is that there is still no one in the Abe faction who can replace the chairman of the faction. Position, on the first anniversary of Abe’s death, there is still some uneasiness within the LDP. For the current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the moves of Abe’s faction are enough to influence the Liberal Democratic Party’s political wrestling and policy advancement. The Kishida faction led by Kishida himself—the Kochikai—ranks fourth in the party, and the goal is to continue to 50 people. The above-mentioned scale expansion will enhance the influence in the environment dominated by the Abe faction.

After the Abe shooting, people mourned at the site of the incident.Photo / Associated Press

After the shooting occurred in July 2022, the Abe faction internally decided to retain the title of “Abe faction”, and the elders of the faction, Shiotani Li and Shimomura Hirobumi, acted as the chairman, and set up a five-member group to form a collective leadership mechanism. Before confirming who can succeed the chairman, it will be used as a leadership plan for the faction during the transition period.

But how long should such a system last? Does it meet the expectations of the faction members? There are still many differences within the party.

Some believe that the status quo “dual-head system” may be maintained, that is, the two giants of the party, Li Shiotani and Shimomura Hirobumi, will continue to lead the Abe faction. The 73-year-old Shiotani Tate once served as the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary during the Fukuda Yasuo regime in 2008, and also served as the chairman of the party’s general affairs. Hirofumi Shimomura is 69 years old and has also served as Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary and Political Affairs Officer of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Under the “dual-head system” in the past year, at least the Abe faction has not seen the splitting rumors from the outside world, but there are still people who have different ideas about whether to continue to maintain this system. Yoshiro Mori, the former prime minister of Japan and former chairman of the Qinghe Policy Research Association, proposed the possibility of “five people”.

The so-called “group of five” refers to the collective leadership system in which the faction is led by five specific people, and these five people are current officials: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroichi Matsuno, Minister of Economy and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura, and Liberal Democratic Party Political Research Chairman Hagiuda Koichi , Seko Hiroshige, Secretary-General of the Senate, and Takagi Takeshi, Chairman of the Countermeasures Committee of the National Assembly.

The 5 people from left to right are: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroichi Matsuno, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura, Liberal Democratic Party Political Survey Chairman Hagi Tamitsu…

From a duoarch system to a five-member system, it may be a compromise method that has never been able to decide on a clear leader. It also reflects the lack of a role like Abe with sufficient political strength and popularity within the current Abe faction. However, Yoshiro Mori, the elder, proposed the collective leadership of five people, but it also attracted criticism of “minority resolution” and “closed room politics”. Inner Bridge King.

Another question is, are these five people only willing to lead collectively? In the analysis of many factions in Japan, it is not believed that everyone will be content with the status quo.

For example, Hagita Koichi, one of Abe’s former confidants and the current Liberal Democratic Party’s political investigation chairman, has repeatedly reported that he has the ambition to become the chairman of the faction, and rumors of raising his sedan chair for his position also appear in the media from time to time. Hagiuda directly stated on the TV news talk show in June this year, “The chairman of the faction has always been vacant. Such an organization is abnormal, and the candidate should be decided as soon as possible.” The political article of “Toyo Keizai” pointed out that Hagiuda Koichi may lock in after the next House of Representatives election, trying to win the vacancy of the faction chairman. The friendship with Abe’s old friend Yoshihide Suga is better, and it may be possible to get help from this.

At the same time, Hiroshige Seko also stated at the fundraising event of the Abe faction that he “is willing to contribute himself to the unity of the 100 members of the faction”, and his intention to point to the position of chairman is quite obvious.

And this year, the first anniversary of Abe’s death, the Abe faction held a meeting on July 6 to continue discussing the follow-up planning of the faction leadership mechanism. Whether the public system is permanent or transitional, there are not many specific details and conclusions yet. Those who intend to compete for the chairman are probably still thinking about their next move.

If the president of the faction is not elected, will there be any impact? In the discussion of the mainstream Japanese news media, most people think that if the vacancy of the chairman continues, it will sooner or later cause members of the Abe faction to leave, or be poached by other factions, resulting in the evolution of the faction. On the other hand, even if they belong to the same faction, there are still differences in political lines and spectrums within them, which directly affect the promotion of policies.

There have been precedents for factional struggles and splits within the Liberal Democratic Party. In terms of the history of the development of the Abe faction (the Qinghe Policy Research Association), there have been successors after the second-generation chairman Shintaro Abe (the father of Shinzo Abe). The political disputes were divided, and during Yoshiro Mori’s period, Kamei Shizuka also ran away against each other… and other precedents.

As far as the current situation is concerned, the issue of the leadership of the Abe faction is still unclear. The influence of the faction of the Liberal Democratic Party and the influence on the current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may need to be stimulated by a major election to be clearer. political images.

On July 8, 2023, the first anniversary of the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, people held a memorial service at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo. … last 24 hours Japan Shinzo Abe

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