Japan’s Digital Minister Kono Expresses Intention to Run for President of Ruling Party; Sources Say Kono Seeks to Convince LDP VP Aso

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Taro Kono

Digital minister Taro Kono expressed his intention to run in the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election this autumn, according to sources close to him.

LDP Vice President Taro Aso, who leads the Aso faction, has maintained his support for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida since he won the 2021 presidential election. It is believed that Aso has taken a cautious stance about Kono running in the upcoming election, as Kono is a member of his faction.

It is believed that Kono conveyed to Aso his intention to run in the election and sought Aso’s understanding at a dinner on Wednesday in Tokyo, according to multiple sources. Kono is expected to make his decision after assessing the political situation, including determining who the Aso faction will support.

Kono previously ran for LDP president in 2009 and 2021. The last time he ran for party president, he lost to Kishida in a runoff.

He has been elected into the House of Representatives nine times from Kanagawa Constituency No. 15.

He first became a Cabinet member as the National Public Safety Commission chairperson in 2015 and has held various posts since then, including foreign minister and defense minister.

During former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s administration, he served as state minister in charge of administrative and regulatory reform. Kono became the digital minister in Kishida’s Cabinet and has remained in the post after the reshuffle last September.