LDP Abe, Nikai Factions to Dissolve to Regain Public’s Trust; Decision Follows Kishida Faction Move to Disband

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Toshihiro Nikai, right, and Ryu Shionoya

The Liberal Democratic Party’s Abe and Nikai factions’ decision on Friday to disband was made in the belief that the public’s trust in politics could not be earned unless they followed the earlier move of the Kishida faction to dissolve.

The Abe faction was formerly led by late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Nikai faction is led by former LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai and the Kishida faction was formerly led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The Abe and Nikai factions announced their plans to disband following Friday’s filing of indictments against those who oversaw accounting for the three factions regarding the issue of underreporting revenue from political fundraising parties.

The Abe faction held a general meeting of faction members at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo where they affirmed disbanding the 96-member faction, the LDP’s largest.

“I sincerely and deeply apologize for betraying the public’s trust,” said Ryu Shionoya, the chief coordinator of the Abe faction, following the general meeting.

“It was a heartbreaking decision to close the curtain on the history of the Seiwaken,” Shionoya added, using a shortened version of the Abe faction’s official name. “However, we have set the stage for the LDP to make a fresh restart.”

The fifth-largest LDP faction, the 38-member Nikai faction, also decided to disband at a general meeting on Friday.

“Members agreed on dissolvement to regain trust in politics,” Nikai said at a press conference after the meeting.

Both LDP Vice President Taro Aso, who heads the party’s second-largest faction with 56 members, and LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi, who leads the third-largest faction with 53 members, are cautious about disbanding their own factions. Members and officials who work with the two factions did not face any indictments.