July 27, 2022 00:28 GMT
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Jiji Press runs a report noting that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will consider a role for his predecessor Yoshihide Suga during the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle which may take place in early September.
- The news agency notes that there is a strong view within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that Suga's presence could help stabilise the administration. On the other hand, there are voices in the Kasumigaseki warning that Suga could counter the Prime Minister's influence if he is allowed to take a Cabinet post.
- Suga was looking to launch his own "study group" (initially a looser team than existing LDP factions or groups) of around 30 MPs to mobilise like-minded lawmakers, but he put these plans on hold after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
- The idea of forming a study group was interpreted as Suga's attempt to return to mainstream LDP politics and potentially mount a challenge to Kishida's leadership, especially if the incumbent Prime Minister failed to secure a satisfactory result in the Upper House election.
- Any Cabinet post offer for Suga would represent an attempt to co-opt the former Prime Minister and his supporters by the current administration. This might help the party close ranks after the death of highly influential ex-Premier Abe opened a power vacuum.
- A couple of weeks back, a retired Tokyo University professor told the Nikkei that "tapping Suga would be a gamble. But he is dedicated to work, so he is more interested in getting things done than political scheming," even as Suga and Kishida are known to have a tense relationship.