Independent Lower House lawmaker Goshi Hosono — who had long hoped to join the ruling Liberal Democratic Party — was accepted for membership in the LDP on Friday, according to party executives.

Hosono, who represents the No. 5 constituency in Shizuoka Prefecture, held key government posts, including environment minister, when he was a member of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan.

In 2017, Hosono left the now-defunct Democratic Party, which succeeded the DPJ, and entered the Party of Hope, another now-defunct party that merged with the Democratic Party in a realignment of opposition parties.

As an independent lawmaker in 2019, Hosono was allowed special membership in the faction led by former Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai.

In Sunday’s Lower House poll, Hosono was elected for the eighth time, beating the LDP’s official candidate in the constituency, Takeru Yoshikawa, a member of the faction led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Yoshikawa, however, won a proportional representation seat. There may be conflict between Hosono and Yoshikawa in the next Lower House election over who gets the party’s official endorsement as a candidate.

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