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Politics Kishi junior: when politics is nothing but family business

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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A few weeks ago, we posted about Kishi Nobuo, Abe's younger brother, quitting politics due to a rapidly progressing illness. Just like PM Kishida grooming his eldest, Nobu's son Nobuchiyo is expected to fill his dad's boots and take over his electoral district in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. However, Nobuchiyo's first step in the political arena turned into a veritable faux pas.

The family tree he put prominently on his campaign website revealed his deep familial connections with prominent figures from Japanese politics, which quickly attracted a major backlash on social media for flaunting those ties. The family history was swiftly removed. It goes to show that politics is all about family, connections and affiliation, not ideals, principles, convictions and commitment. I have no doubt, however, that Nobuchiyo, just like Kishida's son, Shintaro, will have a formidable political career.

Reading the comments on Twitter, I am glad that parts of the Japanese public no longer approve of the nepotistic practices of the past.


"It's so evident for Kishi that politics is nothing but a family-owned business," one user posted. Another wrote, "Apparently, his family pedigree is Kishi's strongest selling point." After the furor erupted, the chart was taken down on the afternoon of Feb. 13. It comes nearly a week after he announced his candidacy at a Feb. 7 news conference for the April 23 Lower House by-election to succeed his father. His father, Nobuo Kishi, 63, a former defense minister, resigned from the seat, as well as his job as a close aide to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Feb. 3, citing illness. Four days later, Nobuo's oldest son and close aide, Nobuchiyo, announced that he would run for his seat to represent the No. 2 district of Yamaguchi Prefecture, which includes Iwakuni. Nobuchiyo began posting his political activities online on Feb. 8. The family tree listed seven men and was posted side by side with his profile on the site's main page. The chart listed Nobuchiyo and his father, Nobuo, who is a younger brother of Abe. It notably included Abe's father, Shintaro Abe, a former foreign minister and an influential politician in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Abe's grandfather Kan Abe, who was a Lower House member. The chart also listed Nobuchiyo's great-grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, a former prime minister, and Nobusuke's younger brother Eisaku Sato, also a former prime minister. Kishi's office admitted it has removed the chart but declined to explain why.

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