Abe takes helm of largest LDP faction

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a meeting of his faction on Thursday.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s largest faction, formerly led by Hiroyuki Hosoda, appointed former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as its new chairperson on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Takeshita faction, which has been without a chairperson since the death of the former Reconstruction Minister Wataru Takeshita in September, is expected to pick LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi as its next leader.

“For half a century, Seiwakai [forerunner of the faction led by Abe] has been the backbone of the nation’s politics and refined its policies,” Abe said at the faction’s general meeting Thursday. “I want to take pride in this tradition and do my best.”

Abe is the 10th chairperson since the launch of Seiwakai. Thirty years have passed since his father Shintaro Abe led the faction as its second chairperson.

Abe’s influence within the LDP is likely to increase as leader of its largest faction, which had 93 members as of Thursday.

“Being the largest policy group, our faction must be the backbone of the administration of [Prime Minister Fumio] Kishida,” Abe told reporters after the meeting.

The Takeshita faction, the third-largest camp in the LDP, has been without a chairperson since September. Several members recommended Motegi for the post during a faction meeting on Thursday.

It was agreed that Motegi would be the next chairperson but the necessary procedures to make the appointment official had not been completed.

After the meeting, Motegi told reporters that he would officially take the helm after finalizing personnel matters.

According to sources, the LDP secretary general plans to inaugurate the Motegi faction by the end of this month. However, some Takeshita faction members in the House of Councillors are wary of Motegi’s appointment.

Meanwhile, six lawmakers were accepted to join the Nikai faction at its regular meeting, raising its membership to 44, exceeding the 42 in the Kishida faction.