A series of study groups were launched within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party last week to map out visions for Japan when the coronavirus epidemic is over.
The moves are viewed by some in the party as linked to the race to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose term as president of the LDP is slated to end in September 2021.
One of the intraparty groups was set up under the party's Policy Research Council, chaired by former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
"The fight against the coronavirus will persist over a long period, and it's a lawmakers' duty to consider a future beyond that," Kishida told the first meeting on Thursday of the group, called a strategic headquarters on creating new international order.
While Kishida became the head of the headquarters, Akira Amari, chairman of the LDP's Research Commission on the Tax System, was appointed to a senior post.
The appointment of Amari, who is close to Abe, was aimed at helping Kishida gain cooperation from the party faction Amari belongs to in the next LDP leadership election, according to aides to Kishida.
As the faction is led by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, the appointment is also expected to make other internal factions believe that Kishida is backed by Aso, the aides said.
Kishida appears to have already started work to consolidate his political base more than a year before the party leadership poll.
Meanwhile, another study group is led by former education minister Hakubun Shimomura, chairman of the LDP's Election Strategy Committee, and former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, executive acting secretary-general of the party.
The group's preparatory meeting was attended by about 30 people from a range of LDP factions. At the meeting, the group decided to have discussions on a variety of topics including educational reform and constitutional amendment as challenges in a post-coronavirus era.
"We don't intend to compete (with Kishida) but hope to produce synergy effects," Shimomura told reporters.
Shimomura and Inada, along with economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, are members of a party faction that Abe has belonged to.
Many in the party faction, however, believe that Shimomura, Inada and Nishimura have no decisive factors for becoming Abe's successor.
In this situation, Shimomura and Inada apparently want to increase their presence through the launch of the study group, LDP sources said.