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Vaccine czar Kono most popular leadership candidate among Japan ruling party’s rank and file


The Liberal Democratic Party’s rank-and-file members and members of affiliated groups appear to favor Taro Kono to be the party’s next leader, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun poll conducted over the weekend.

When asked which candidate they intend to vote for, 41% chose Kono, the minister in charge of administrative and regulatory reform. In second at 22% was Fumio Kishida, a former LDP Policy Research Council chairperson, followed closely at 20% by Sanae Takaichi, a former communications minister, with LDP Executive Acting Secretary General Seiko Noda at 6%.

As for the LDP’s Diet members, a separate poll appears to show their preference for Kishida, Kono, Takaichi and Noda in that order.

The results suggest that there will be no clear winner after the first round of voting, likely leading to a runoff between the top two finishers.

The nationwide telephone poll of rank-and-file members was conducted Saturday and Sunday, with valid responses received from 1,514 such members and members of affiliated groups who were confirmed to have the right to vote for the party president.

In the actual voting to take place Sept. 29, 382 votes will come from each of the LDP’s Diet members, and an equivalent value of 382 votes will be calculated based on the percentage each candidate receives of the ballots cast by rank-and-file members.

Extrapolating from the sample size of the poll, rank-and-file members appear to give 177 votes to Kono, 94 to Kishida, 86 to Takaichi and 25 to Noda. The calculation did not include the 11% of the respondents who did not disclose their intentions.

As for their reasons for choosing a particular candidate, 25% said they supported the candidate’s zeal for reform, 23% said they had strong expectations for the candidate’s policies and 13% said the candidate was trustworthy.

Asked what they thought the LDP needed most in the future, 37% said a generational turnover, 19% said dissolution of factions and 15% said transparency in political funds.

When it came to Diet members’ favored candidates, however, the poll started on Sept. 6 and ended Sunday. Of the 382 LDP lawmakers, responses were received from 379, with 30% saying they were undecided or had no comment.

From the lawmakers’ responses, 94 backed Kishida, 83 supported Kono, 71 answered Takaichi. Noda, who officially announced her intention to run on Sept. 16, received 16 votes.

While Kono is a popular choice, the combined poll results appear to show that he does not have 40% of the votes.

If none of the candidates receives over 50% of the vote on Sept. 29, a runoff will take place with 429 votes available: 382 from Diet members and one each from the party’s 47 prefectural chapters.

Published : September 21, 2021