April 23, 2017
Tokyo- Kochi-kai, a once-mainstream liberal faction of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, marks the 60th anniversary of its establishment this year, just as LDP President Shinzo Abe is eyeing a longer tenure as prime minister than any predecessor.
During a party celebrating the group's milestone in a Tokyo hotel Wednesday night, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, its current leader, said: "The post-Abe era will come sooner or later. We should consider how we as Kochi-kai will move at the time."
"Some people cynically call Kochi-kai a 'kuge (court aristocracy)' group that is weak in times of political turmoil," Kishida said in a speech. "I hope our group will develop the ability to tackle political turmoil."
Kishida is viewed as a candidate to succeed Abe as prime minister, but he has clarified his loyalty to the Abe administration. He is said to hope that the prime minister will eventually name him successor.
Invited to the party, Abe said, "I hope you will wait a little bit more and continue to support the Abe administration," drawing laughter from the audience.
Abe, tied to the biggest LDP faction led by General Council Chairman Hiroyuki Hosoda, is widely expected to seek another term as president in the next party leadership election, slated for autumn 2018. (Jiji Press)
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