Former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Stirs Up Ruling LDP by Assessing Potential ‘Post-Kishida’ Candidates for Party President

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has caused a stir in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party by giving his assessment of potential “post-Kishida” candidates to replace Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as leader of the party in a podcast that was streamed Sunday.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Yoshihide Suga

Suga’s comments could spark even more intense political maneuvering ahead of the party’s presidential election to be held this fall.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, speaking at a press conference Monday, held back from directly addressing Suga’s comments. “As the government, I refrain from commenting,” he said. “We hear and take seriously the voices of distrust in politics from the public, and remain focused on issues that can no longer be put off.”

In the podcast, Suga also renewed his call for the party to dissolve all of its factions, saying it was a “necessary” step for the party as a whole.

Looking at potential replacements for Kishida as party president, Suga particularly praised former Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, saying, “I think many people recognize him [as a future leader].”

He also brought up former LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba as “a man of promise,” and said that Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi, who has been distancing himself from Kishida, “is doing a good job of handling the party’s affairs under difficult circumstances.”

A mid-ranking LDP member, reacting to Suga’s comments, said that he “ignited a fuse that would likely hasten debate over post-Kishida candidates.”