Hiroshi Moriyama, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet Affairs Committee, marked his third anniversary in office Monday.
If he stays on, Moriyama will become the LDP’s longest-serving Diet affairs chief on Sept. 3, with 1,128 days, overtaking Hidenao Nakagawa, who served in the post under the government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
Moriyama has earned the deep confidence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. Attention is being focused on his appointment in the reshuffle of the Cabinet and the LDP leadership team that is likely to take place by the end of September.
On Friday, Moriyama effectively rejected the opposition camp’s request for calling an extraordinary session of the Diet, telling reporters that it is unclear what bill should be discussed in an extra session.
His reaction reflected the cautious attitude of the Prime Minister’s Office about holding an extra session.
A senior LDP official spoke highly of his skills, saying, “Moriyama’s presence is reassuring to us.”
Moriyama was first elected to the House of Councilors in 1998 after serving seven terms as member of the Kagoshima Municipal Assembly.
He shifted to the House of Representatives in 2004 and was appointed agriculture minister in 2015. He took the current post Aug. 3, 2017.
Moriyama played key roles in winning enactment of key legislation that divided the ruling and opposition parties, including work-style reform legislation and a law to expand the range of foreign workers allowed in Japan.
Moriyama has also nurtured relationships of trust with senior opposition officials, including Jun Azumi, the Diet affairs chief of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
One government official said that only Moriyama can bring the opposition camp under control.
But in the Kagoshima gubernatorial election in July, Moriyama, as chairman of the LDP’s Kagoshima prefectural chapter, failed to see the re-election of the incumbent governor, backed by the ruling bloc. Some officials said Moriyama’s influence in national politics is declining as a result.
In the coming shake-up of LDP executives, speculation has it that Moriyama may be appointed to another senior party post.
At the same time, there are persistent calls for him to remain as Diet affairs chief.