• Jiji


The Liberal Democratic Party faction led by former Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda remains the LDP’s biggest intraparty group following the Oct. 31 Lower House election.

All of the ruling party’s seven factions saw their membership decrease after some retired from politics and others lost seats in the election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament.

The Hosoda faction managed to limit the decrease resulting from the election to nine members despite bleak expectations by some within the party.

Meanwhile, former Secretary-General Nobuteru Ishihara’s faction, the smallest of the seven, is on the brink of dissolution after Ishihara failed in his bid for re-election.

The Hosoda faction had 95 members when the Lower House was dissolved. It now has 87 members, including one member elected in a by-election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber, on Oct. 24.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a former member of the faction, is tipped to succeed Hosoda as the faction’s leader because Hosoda is expected to become speaker of the Lower House.

The faction may have other new members. LDP policy leader Sanae Takaichi, who does not belong to a faction, may return to the group, while three newly elected lawmakers are likely to join it, sources said.

The second-biggest faction is led by LDP Vice President Taro Aso. Aso’s group has 49 members, down by three from before the election.

Close behind is the faction previously headed by Wataru Takeshita, who died in September, with 46 members, down by seven, and the faction led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with 41 members, down by five.

Toshimitsu Motegi, acting leader of the faction that was led by Takeshita, appears to be taking aim at becoming the permanent head of the group after he became the LDP’s secretary-general.

Of the seven groups, the faction led by former LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai lost the biggest number of members in the general election — its membership shrank by 10 to 37.

The faction remains active in recruiting new members even after Nikai left what is effectively the party’s No. 2 post. Five lawmakers who won seats in the general election are set to join. Former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, admitted into the LDP on Friday, is a special member of the faction.

Competition for the No. 2 slot among the seven is expected to intensify among the four factions currently ranking second to fifth.

Ranking sixth is the faction of former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba with 12 members, down by three.

The group was launched with 20 members in September 2015 but its membership has continued to decline.

Ishiba’s close aide, former Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita, retired ahead of the Lower House election and the faction’s membership may decline further.

The faction led by Ishihara saw its membership decrease by three to seven. Besides Ishihara, former home affairs minister Takeshi Noda lost a seat in the general election.

Some faction members are calling for the dissolution of the group, while others want it to merge with another faction.

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