TOKYO: KISHIDA Fumio, new leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, allocated key party posts Friday chiefly to members of intraparty factions that helped him win the LDP leadership race.
The reward-oriented appointments, made under strong influence of former Prime Minister ABE Shinzo and incumbent Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister ASO Taro, were aimed at making stable Kishida’s power base in the LDP, critics said.
LDP tax chief Akira Amari was named secretary-general, the linchpin post in the party, after the key member of the Aso group, the second largest LDP faction, supported Kishida in the race as his campaign advisor. With Amari also close to Abe, the trio’s alliance is called 3A.
Meanwhile, Kishida, set to be elected prime minister in a parliamentary vote, plans to allocate the portfolio of chief cabinet secretary to former education minister Hirokazu Matsuno, who belongs to the largest party faction led by former Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda. Abe is also from the Hosoda faction.
The selections of Amari and Matsuno mean that the two major factions are holding the core posts in the ruling party and the government, pundits said.
As for other LDP posts, Toshiaki Endo, former minister for the Tokyo Games and a member of the group led by former party head Sadakazu Tanigaki, was named chair of the Election Strategy Committee, thanks to his contribution to Kishida’s victory in the party election as campaign manager.
Sanae Takaichi, former internal affairs minister and a contender in the race, was picked as Policy Research Council head after Abe demanded that she be given an important post.
Abe backed Takaichi in the election. But in the runoff between Kishida and Taro Kono, regulatory reform minister also in charge of coronavirus vaccine rollout, the former prime minister funneled ballots of Takaichi’s backers into Kishida.
Although Kono is an Aso group member, Aso instructed other group members to vote for either Kono or Kishida.
Loser Kono was named chief spokesman, the position a relatively low rank.
The post of chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee went to Tsuyoshi Takagi, who also belongs to the Hosoda faction.
The selection of Tatsuo Fukuda, a third-term member of the House of Representatives, as General Council head, one of the three key party posts, was the only choice that seemed free of the influence of Abe and Aso. During his campaign, Kishida vowed to promote younger party members.