Let the games begin — political games, that is. Liberal Democratic Party heavyweights including former PM Shinzo Abe launched a new Diet group Monday, apparently to keep check on the growing power of Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai. “We certainly came to talk about semiconductors,” Deputy PM Taro Aso said at the meeting, fooling no one.
LDP infighting is probably not what PM Yoshihide Suga needs in the middle of a pandemic. With his public support already battered, the government withdrew a controversial immigration bill last week in a case of damage limitation ahead of the Tokyo assembly election in July and the LDP leadership vote and general election that will follow.
Several scandals could resurface ahead of these dates. Case in point: On Monday, a panel set up by Tohokushinsha Film revealed that bureaucrats were treated to dinners 54 times by the firm over five years. The panel concluded that though the optics might suggest graft, it was more a case of overzealous execs ignorant of ethics and legal issues.
Also Monday, the LDP reached a compromise on a bill promoting understanding of LGBT people, a week after conservatives held up the cross-party bill due to a passage that said “discrimination will not be tolerated.” Days earlier, an LDP lawmaker came under fire for saying that being LGBT goes against the preservation of humanity.