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Japanese source reports suggest that at least five out of seven major factions in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will allow their members to vote according to their own preferences in the upcoming election of party president.

  • Sources told Jiji that the Hosoda faction, the largest faction in the party, convened yesterday and decided to allow a conscience vote. Yomiuri suggested that faction chairman Hosoda leaned towards supporting Sanae Takaichi and Fumio Kishida. Former PM Abe, who wields considerable influence over the group, supports Takaichi, who does not belong to any faction.
  • The second-largest Aso faction holds a general meeting on Thursday and is set to "basically support" Taro Kono and Fumio Kishida, as per a Yomiuri report. They will resign from faction discipline, even as Kono is a member of the group. The Takeshita, Nikai and Ishihara factions also have their general meetings slated for Thursday and are expected to inform their members that they will be free to vote according to personal preferences.
  • The Ishiba faction gathers today, with their leader poised to confirm that he will not run in the election. A number of source reports noted that Ishiba may declare his support for Kono, but the position of his faction will be hammered out today. According to a Jiji report circulated this morning, support from Ishiba could drive a wedge between Kono and the influential Abe/Aso duo. Ishiba has been known as a rare outspoken critic of the Abe administration.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Kishida faction decided to rally behind their leader, according to the aforementioned Yomiuri piece.
  • The campaign for LDP leadership election formally starts this Friday.