FOCUS: In LDP Race, Kono Camp Growing Vocal in Opposition to Abe

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 17 (Jiji Press)--The camp backing regulatory reform minister Taro Kono in the Liberal Democratic Party's leadership election has grown vocal in its opposition to Shinzo Abe, a former prime minister and party heavyweight.

The group, led by Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi and former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, aims to cement its reformist image by presenting Abe, who wields strong influence over the party from behind the scenes after staying in power for a record seven years and eight months as prime minister, as the symbol of the old-fashioned LDP.

"It's a battle between the old LDP and the people. Let's change party politics driven by intraparty factions," Ishiba, who spearheads the anti-Abe stand with Koizumi, said at a rally of lawmakers backing Kono, 58, from various factions on Thursday.

"We have to create a government that fulfills accountability to the people, gains understanding and empathy from the people and walks with the people, instead of relying on the dynamics of party factions," Koizumi said.

"The old LDP" can be taken to mean Abe.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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