As Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s term as LDP leader expires, the internal party process to elect a ruling party leader has begun.
Kyodo News reported on the 4th that the Liberal Democratic Party is considering a plan to announce the election for governor on the 17th of next month and cast and count the votes on the 29th of the same month. Prime Minister Suga’s term as party leader runs until September 30. Unlike the September election last year, which was held only by members of the Central and House of Representatives and branch representatives due to the sudden resignation of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, this time, party members and party members (intermediate characteristics between party members and support members) also participate in the voting.
The biggest variable in the schedule is whether Prime Minister Suga will dissolve the House of Representatives. In this case, the election of the governor will be pushed behind the general election in which members of the House of Representatives are elected. Prime Minister Suga is known to have set up a strategy to win the general election and run for re-election as the sole candidate for governor by suspending the election for the governor and boosting momentum for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Kyodo News reported that the term of the House of Representatives, which is a member of the House of Representatives in Japan, runs until October 21, so there is a high possibility of ‘September dissolution and October general election’.
However, the red light is lit on Prime Minister Suga’s strategy. This is the result of a combination of factors such as a lack of vaccine supply, the push to hold the Olympics, and dissatisfaction with the spread of COVID-19. The LDP has been defeated in three major elections since April. He also lost the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections last month. The party’s approval rating is also at its lowest since its inception in September last year. The Asahi Shimbun reported, “There is a lot of talk from middle-ranking and new lawmakers saying, ‘You can’t fight in the election as Prime Minister Suga,’ and ‘we have to renew the leadership of the party.’ It may not be possible,” he said. On the other hand, Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the LDP, said at a press conference on the 3rd, “I can’t find any reason to change Governor Suga right now. We all know that the incumbent prime minister is most likely to be re-elected.”
Prime Minister Suga’s rivals within the party include Taro Kono, Japan’s Minister of Administrative Reform, and Shigeru Ishiba, former secretary general of the LDP. Kono, Minister of Administrative Reform, who also serves as the prize in charge of vaccines, is scheduled to publish ‘Going ahead with Japan’ on the 27th, the Sankei Shimbun reported. The book is said to contain Kono administrative reform thoughts on issues such as security, energy, and social security, as well as relations with his father, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei, famous for the “Ko-no Statement,” which acknowledged the mobilization of comfort women by the Japanese military and made an official apology. Unlike his father, he is taking a tougher stance on Korea-Japan relations, such as the South Korean Supreme Court ruling on forced labor and subsequent export restrictions. Former secretary Ishiba Ishiba, an 11-term lawmaker from Tottori Prefecture, is considered a dove in Korea-Japan relations.