LDP Vice Pres. Komura to retain post

LDP Vice Pres. Komura to retain postThe vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party, Masahiko Komura, said Wednesday he will retain his post in a party leadership reshuffle planned by LDP chief Shinzo Abe following the party's landslide general election victory on Sunday.

The former foreign minister told reporters at the LDP's headquarters that he has accepted the offer from Abe, who is set to become Japan's prime minister next week, to keep the post.

Komura said he will work on reforming the party and creating a culture in which lawmakers do away with infighting and "work as one."

Abe is expected to be elected as Japan's new prime minister at a special parliamentary session to be convened Dec. 26 and to form a Cabinet the same day.

Underlining efforts to reform the 57-year-old party, LDP acting secretary general and Abe aide Yoshihide Suga ruled out the possibility that old factional politic will play any role in Abe's selection of Cabinet members and the party brass.

"There is 100 percent no chance that factions' nominations would be accepted," Suga told a symposium in Tokyo.

The LDP has traditionally allocated key posts in line with recommendations from party factions.

Though the factions wielded less influence over the LDP's decision-making processes in the past decade, pundits said the sharp increase in the number of LDP lawmakers after the general election could encourage party factions to recruit fresh legislators and enhance their power as a result.

With Suga's name being floated for the post of chief Cabinet secretary in Abe's new government, Hiroyuki Hosoda who heads the General Council, a top LDP decision-making body, is likely to be tapped as acting secretary general, replacing Suga, party sources said Wednesday.

Abe seems to have made the decision as Hosoda is well-versed in electoral reform, an issue that the LDP, its ally the New Komeito party and the Democratic Party of Japan have agreed to tackle during the next ordinary Diet session to convene in January.

As acting secretary general, Hosoda, a former chief Cabinet secretary, would also handle the party's campaign aimed at securing an overall majority in the House of Councillors at next summer's election, when half of the chamber's seats will be up for grabs.

LDP sources said Abe plans to include five women in his Cabinet, apparently to make good on the LDP's election promise to "increase the ratio of females in leadership roles to more than 30 percent by 2020."

Among the names being floated are Yuko Obuchi, a former state minister in charge of the declining birthrate, Yoriko Kawaguchi, a former foreign minister, and Sanae Takaichi, former state minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories issues, the sources said.

Abe is also considering tapping a female nonparliamentarian as a Cabinet member, they said.

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