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News LDP leadership race

thomas

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Taro Kono, the Minister for Administrative Reform and Regulatory Reform and responsible for the vaccine distribution in Japan, leads the opinion poll on succeeding PM Suga, who announced that he would not run in the upcoming party leadership election. After Shigeru Ishiba, seen as the LDP's first choice according to a Mainichi poll just two weeks ago, dropped out, Kono faces two contenders: former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fumio Kishida, and a female candidate supported by Shinzo Abe's fraction, Sanae Takaichi. Takaichi is a right-winger whose policies align with Abe's (ingeniously, her economic programme was coined "Sanaenomics").

Taro Kono, a member of Aso's fraction, has not been officially endorsed yet. Here's why:

For Taro Kono, it's his outspokenness, sense of humor and savvy presence on social media that have made him a favorite among the public and a front-runner in the Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election later this month. But his unorthodox communication style is a double-edged sword and has turned the administrative reform minister into a polarizing figure among some of the Liberal Democratic Party's influential old guard. Kono, who is also in charge of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, frequently tops public opinion polls asking voters who they want to see as Japan's next prime minister. Experts say his popularity stems in no small part from his active engagement with the public on social media, especially on Twitter, where his Japanese-language account boasts 2.4 million followers. This makes Kono the most followed lawmaker on the platform in Japan, even outshining the 2.2 million followers of Shinzo Abe, who resigned as the nation's longest-serving prime minister last year. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga lags far behind with under 500,000 followers.


It is symptomatic for the detached LDP gerontocracy that the candidate who'd receive the most support from the electorate is met with fierce resistance for refusing to play along with political manoeuvering and backroom politics. Interesting days ahead.


One more thing on Mrs Takaichi. I thought I'd never say this, but I hope the next Japanese PM will NOT be a woman, at least not this one.

 

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Taro Kono, the Minister for Administrative Reform and Regulatory Reform and responsible for the vaccine distribution in Japan, leads the opinion poll on succeeding PM Suga, who announced that he would not run in the upcoming party leadership election. After Shigeru Ishiba, seen as the LDP's first choice according to a Mainichi poll just two weeks ago, dropped out, Kono faces two contenders: former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fumio Kishida, and a female candidate supported by Shinzo Abe's fraction, Sanae Takaichi. Takaichi is a right-winger whose policies align with Abe's (ingeniously, her economic programme was coined "Sanaenomics").

Taro Kono, a member of Aso's fraction, has not been officially endorsed yet. Here's why:




It is symptomatic for the detached LDP gerontocracy that the candidate who'd receive the most support from the electorate is met with fierce resistance for refusing to play along with political manoeuvering and backroom politics. Interesting days ahead.


One more thing on Mrs Takaichi. I thought I'd never say this, but I hope the next Japanese PM will NOT be a woman, at least not this one.

Idk anything about this but has there been problems with women being the PM's in the past? Or are you just talking about that particular candidate? (Help a person with a peewee brain pls😔✋) fill me up on the tea... What has she done?
 
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thomas

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Idk anything about this but has there been problems with women being the PM's in the past? Or are you just talking about that particular candidate? (Help a person with a peewee brain pls😔✋) fill me up on the tea... What has she done?

I am sorry if I was unclear. I was referring to this particular candidate who happens to be a staunch right-winger. She didn't shy away from meeting with the head of the Japanese Neonazi party:


She is also a member of the ultra-nationalist "think-tank" Nippon Kaigi.
 

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Idk anything about this but has there been problems with women being the PM's in the past? Or are you just talking about that particular candidate? (Help a person with a peewee brain pls😔✋) fill me up on the tea... What has she done?
Worldwide, there have been a fair number of national female leaders who have done well (Merkel in Germany and Ardern in NZ immediately come to mind) and my own country has had two (Thatcher, who I loathed but nobody could accuse her of incompetence, and May who did a bad job though under very difficult circumstances). And in Japan, Koike, the mayor of Tokyo, has held down the job OK. The problem with the Japanese female politicians who have been in the cabinet over the last ten years is that were picked by Abe to reflect his obnoxious nationalistic views rather than because of any competence. And some of these previous female cabinet ministers, such as Inaba for defence a few years ago, have been unremittingly awful at their jobs. I always got the impression that Abe thought "We've got to have at least a couple of women in or it will look bad, so I may as well pick ones that share my views."
 
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thomas

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Meanwhile, both Ishiba and Koizumi Jr. have endorsed Taro Kono. It's going to be a tough race for Kishida.


Japan's Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi announced on Tuesday that he will back regulatory reform minister Taro Kono in the upcoming leadership election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. "The LDP must change at a time when Japan and the world is changing due to the novel coronavirus crisis," Koizumi told a press conference at his hometown, Yokosuka in the eastern prefecture of Kanagawa. "When looking at who (among the candidates) will be able to breathe fresh air into the party, the answer is obvious," Koizumi said. The announcement by Koizumi, who is popular among the Japanese people, may sway votes from rank-and-file local members of the LDP. Kono "is unparalleled in his ability to make a breakthrough," Koizumi said.

 

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Good news. Less chance of a nutter becoming PM!
 
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thomas

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It appears that Ishiba's endorsement could backfire: last year, he severely criticised former PM Abe over his wife's involvement with Moritomo Gakuen, and many LDP delegates wouldn't touch him with a bargepole. Also, some fractions will support more than one candidate.

Interesting insights into the inner workings of the LDP:

Ishiba's support a double-edged sword for Kono in LDP election
 

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It's a very complicated situation. Another factor not mentioned in the article is that Abe (and everything he stands for) is widely disliked by the electorate, which will sway politicians in marginal seats toward the more popular Kono. And what's best for the country is way down the list of priorities in such elections.
 
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thomas

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Today, the internal LDP campaigns to designate the new party president and, in extension, the next PM, have started. Yesterday, Seiko Noda, the LDP executive acting secretary-general, joined the race.

Four lawmakers have thrown their hats into the ring: Taro Kono, 58, the state minister in charge of administrative reform; Fumio Kishida, 64, a former LDP policy chief; Sanae Takaichi, 60, a former internal affairs minister; and Seiko Noda, 61, the LDP executive acting secretary-general. This is the first LDP presidential election with more than one female candidate. The vote on Sept. 29 will be determined by 766 ballots: 383 distributed to LDP prefectural chapters and the same number to LDP lawmakers. Unlike the LDP presidential election last year, all 1.1 million or so party supporters will have a chance to vote.



four-contenders.png

Photo credit: Daily Yomuri
 

thomas

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That was a very civilised ”debate” today. However, it soon became clear that the female candidates were nothing but adornment. Kono or Kishida both seem level-headed and open to reforms, so the Old Guard permitting, I foresee chances of moderate change in Japan’s political landscape.


 

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That was a very civilised ”debate” today. However, it soon became clear that the female candidates were nothing but adornment. Kono or Kishida both seem level-headed and open to reforms, so the Old Guard permitting, I foresee chances of moderate change in Japan’s political landscape.


I didn't watch the debate, but I'm curious to know what led you to conclude that the two women were 'nothing but adornment'.
 

thomas

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Because they are obviously token candidates to create an illusion of inclusivity and gender equality in politics. It was Abe who wanted to create "a society in which women shine", but not much has come of it. Mrs Takaichi enjoys the support of Abe and a few other nationalist members of the Hosoda faction. Mrs Noda hasn't been endorsed by anyone so far. Of course, the female candidates were given equal time and opportunity to expand on their policies, but it was apparent that they were considered "also-rans". My wife, who was glued to the screen for the entire debate and who obviously grasped more than I did, reached the same conclusion. She called, in particular, Takaichi's policies "quite thin".

Anyhow, the whole format of the debate was more of a presentation, with foreseeable and uncontroversial questions and predictable results.

Edit: Asahi called it "heated".

 
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I think toward the 2nd half of the debate the reporters were just pitching questions to the two male candidates. It started off with fairly equal distribution, but by then end they (press) were just focusing on the two dudes. That is what I learned from Twitter, anyway.
 

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By the way, that chart explaining internal LDP factions and their support is fascinating. The inter-party factions and their shifting influences is one thing that makes Japanese politics forever opaque to me. As much as I'd love to sink my teeth into it, it feels like it will be forever beyond my grasp.
 
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