Shimomura Ready to Challenge Suga in LDP Leadership Race

Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 18 (Jiji Press)--Hakubun Shimomura, policy chief of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has told some members of the party that he is ready to run for LDP presidency, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's term of LDP president expires at the end of September. The party's leadership contest is expected to be held on Sept. 29 before a general election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of Japan's parliament.

As chairman of the LDP's Policy Research Council, Shimomura is in one of three key party posts that are meant to support Suga. Shimomura's move is thus a blow to Suga, who hopes to get re-elected.

Shimomura is confident about securing the backing of at least 20 LDP lawmakers, which is necessary to run in a party leadership race, according to sources familiar with the situation.

He belongs to a LDP faction led by former Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has influence over the faction, supports Suga's re-election. Some members of the faction are tepid about Shimomura's bid.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press