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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 September 29 - October 5  > New LDP leadership steps into Abe/Suga shoes
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2021 September 29 - October 5 [POLITICS]

New LDP leadership steps into Abe/Suga shoes

October 3, 2021

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Following the election of Kishida Fumio as Liberal Democratic Party president, members of the new party leadership was announced. The lineup shows no sign of reassessment of the money-for-politics scandals which occurred under the Abe/Suga governments as evidenced in the pick of Amari Akira, who was forced to resign from the Abe Cabinet due to his involvement in a bribery scandal, as the party’s secretary-general and in the appointment of Finance Minister Aso Taro, who turned his back on investigations of the falsification of official documents related to the “Moritomo” scandal, as the vice president. This shows that Kishida’s slogan of the “newly reborn LDP” is just more rethoric.

In 2016, Amari stepped down as Abe Cabinet minister in charge of economic revitalization after the revelation that he allegedly received cash from a building firm at the minister’s office in exchange for his endorsement for compensation payments from a public housing corporation to the firm. At that time, he was absent from Diet deliberations over a long period of time under the pretext of health problems without explaining his allegation of misconduct before the Diet.

At the first press conference as the LDP secretary-general on October 1, Amari blamed his secretaries on the bribery allegation, showing his intent to continue to evade accountability. It is unacceptable for the LDP to leave the bribery allegation up in the air. It should respond to opposition parties’ demand for a full explanation by Amari before the Diet.

The Abe/Suga governments’ attitude of shoving the scandals under the rug has aroused fierce public anger. Nevertheless, Kishida, as the new LDP president, intends to maintain this stance despite causing further public distrust.

Furthermore, Kishida chose Takaichi Sanae, who was supported by ex-PM Abe in the LDP presidential election and is notorious for her hawkish stance, as chair of the party’s Policy Research Council. Takaichi at her first press conference on October 1 showed her intention to list constitutional amendments as one of major items in the party’s manifesto for the coming general election. This indicates that Kishida selected party executives based on his intent to revise the Constitution during his term of office in line with Abe’s ambition in this regard. It is more important than ever for opposition parties to put an end to the LDP-led government which maintains the Abe/Suga policies and realize a change of government.

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