Breaking News
LAST CHANCE for Cyber Monday SALE: Up to 54% off InvestingPro! Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Junior Japanese lawmakers emerge as force in wide-open PM race

WorldSep 27, 2021 06:32AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. A candidate for the presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Taro Kono, the cabinet minister in charge of vaccinations, meets with LDP lawmaker Tatsuo Fukuda during their discussion meeting in Tokyo, Japan September 21, 2021, in

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - A group of junior lawmakers has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in Japan's ruling party leadership contest, facing off with party barons in the wide-open race for votes on Wednesday, which will also determine the premiership.

Many of the 90-strong members of the grouping, who rode into power on the coat-tails of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, fear losses in a general election within months of the leadership race, and chafe at party customs, including the weakening but still present grip of old guard factions.

"There's no transparency in how they operate, no explanation," lawmaker Keitaro Ohno, 53, one of the founders of the Group for Renewing Party Spirit, told Reuters, referring to the established factions.

"Even if we can operate pretty freely, when it comes time for leadership races and big party events, we're told from the top 'hey you guys, look right'. If you ask 'why right?', they'll say 'Just listen to me. If I say it's right, it's right.' This isn't good."

Though similar groups have formed throughout the history of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), this one appears to be having an impact.

Due to its pressure, party barons have ruled that members of the formal factions can vote as they wish on Wednesday.

All four candidates for party leader - who will almost certainly become prime minister as leader of the biggest party in parliament - also joined a debate with the group's top members, apparently looking to win backing.

Though analysts believe many members of the group will choose vaccine minister Taro Kono, it isn't endorsing any candidate.

Ohno supports former foreign minister Fumio Kishida - who has talked about party reform, including term limits.

The old party factions have lost influence since reforms in the 1990s when they were banned from funding candidates, leaving that solely to party headquarters. Now they mostly jostle for cabinet and party posts.

'ENERGETIC'

Though Ohno said party elders can have useful experience, and factions can be helpful, voters tell him and others they're increasingly distrustful of old-style politics, characterised by backroom deals, like the way Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was chosen last year.

Members of the group say they have to take the initiative to win over voters.

"I hear talk that our ability to communicate is weak, that we have to do what the elders want," said Arata Takebe, a 51-year-old Hokkaido lawmaker, in a video on his website.

"If the younger members aren't energetic the LDP isn't appealing. That's why we have this group."

Rebels they're not. Many, including Ohno and Takebe, are second- or third-generation politicians. Group leader Tatsuo Fukuda, 54, is the son and grandson of prime ministers.

Many have corporate experience like Ohno, an ex-researcher at electronics firm Fujitsu who held a fellowship at a U.S. university. They also matured after Japan's economic bubble burst, which Ohno said means they don't take things for granted.

"Younger Diet members feel like they have nothing to do, they're cut out, they haven't earned their service time so they have to be quiet and just do what they're told, and who likes that?" said Tobias Harris, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

The pressure of an imminent general election - one has to be held by Nov. 28 - has given the younger politicians leverage for change, Harris said.

"The circumstances of this election gave them an opening which they've used to weaken factional control over the outcome."

Ohno, who has not identified himself with any of the party's old factions, hopes his group can fulfil what he says are widespread voter hopes for a more contemporary political system.

"That means breaking away from the Showa-era style of political management," he said, referring to the period from 1926-1989, corresponding with the reign of Emperor Hirohito. "And, modernisation."

Junior Japanese lawmakers emerge as force in wide-open PM race
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email