LDP Picks Experienced Members with No Faction Affiliation for Key Posts; Tokai as Policy Chief, Hamada for Diet Affairs Chief

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hiroshi Moriyama, chairperson of the Liberal Democratic Party’s General Council, far left, and Koichi Hagiuda, third from left, outgoing chairperson of the party Policy Research Council, are seen at a General Council meeting at the party’s headquarters in Tokyo on Friday.

The Liberal Democratic Party decided Friday to appoint members with no faction affiliation to replace party executives who have resigned as a result of the ongoing scandal of alleged hidden political funds that has beleaguered the party’s Abe faction.

At a meeting of its General Council, the ruling party approved the appointment of Kisaburo Tokai, 75, a former education, culture, sports, science and technology minister, as chairperson of the Policy Research Council to replace Koichi Hagiuda. Former Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, 68, was picked to head the party’s Diet Affairs Committee, replacing Tsuyoshi Takagi. Neither Tokai and Hamada belong to any LDP faction, while their predecessors are members of the faction once led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

With the public turning a critical eye on LDP factions, it is inevitable that the opposition parties will intensify their pursuit of the alleged undocumented funds from political fundraising parties during next year’s ordinary Diet session. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is also LDP president, with the apparent intention of overcoming the current difficult situation, has decided to appoint experienced members with no faction affiliation to the key LDP posts, which are tasked with directing the party’s policy making and managing Diet affairs, respectively.

Tokai has been elected 10 times to the House of Representatives from Hyogo Constituency No. 10. He once left the LDP in 1993 and participated in the formation of the New Party Sakigake. After rejoining the LDP, Tokai served in such party positions as acting chairperson of the Policy Research Council. He is known for his policy expertise, particularly in the fields of education and science and technology.

Tokai has shown his willingness to carry out political reform in response to the recent political funds scandal. “The harmful effects of LDP factions must be eliminated,” Tokai told reporters on Thursday.

He also expressed the need to set up a new intraparty body to that end.

Hamada has also been elected to the lower house 10 times from Chiba Constituency No. 12. He has served as chairperson of the LDP Diet Affairs Committee before, and has a wide network of contacts even among the opposition parties. Hamada was defense minister under the cabinets of Taro Aso and Kishida.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yasukazu Hamada