National / Politics

Lower House approves Machimura's resignation, selects Oshima as successor


The House of Representatives approved the resignation of former speaker Nobutaka Machimura at a plenary session Tuesday and selected Tadamori Oshima, chairman of the Lower House Budget Committee, to be his successor.

Machimura, who held the post for 119 days, is the first speaker to resign early since Kenzaburo Hara in 1989.

Oshima’s experience in steering Diet proceedings, including a long stint as chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet Affairs Committee, is expected to help the party when debate heats up over the national security bills in mid-May.

Oshima, 68, will have to oversee a committee drafting electoral system reforms, notably how to rectify the vote weight disparity between voting districts the Supreme Court has described as being “in a state of unconstitutionality.”

Hailing from Aomori Prefecture, Oshima first entered the Lower House in 1983 and has been re-elected 10 times. As well as chairing the Diet Affairs Committee, he has been vice president, secretary-general and played other important roles in the party.

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura of the LDP will replace Oshima as chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

Machimura tendered his resignation to Vice Speaker Tatsuo Kawabata on Monday after suffering a light stroke. He was hospitalized for tests after feeling unwell on the evening of April 14, and missed Lower House sessions on Thursday and Friday. He also had a stroke in September 2012.