Mori keeps talking; will Abe listen?

Former Prime Minister Mori took his campaign against Prime Minister Abe to the airwaves on Sunday, appearing on Japan’s Sunday morning talk shows to talk about the coming cabinet reshuffle.

The most headline-worthy portion of his remarks, based on articles in the major dailies, seems to be his call for Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki to be replaced due to his inability to manage the Diet, but he also called for Fukuda and prominent Abe critic Tanigaki to be included in the cabinet.

We’ve already seen Mr. Abe reject Mr. Mori’s direct request on election night that he resign. One has to wonder whether the prime minister will also reject the LDP bigwig’s suggestions on the composition of his next cabinet. If so, is this another sign of the new balance of power between prime minister and party? Or is it the sole remaining way for Prime Minister Abe to assert his authority? Whatever the case may be, it seems significant that Mr. Mori has been forced to repeat his calls for the prime minister to choose a broadly inclusive cabinet in any and every forum available, with little apparent impact thus far.

If Mori is unable to make the deeply unpopular and increasingly powerless prime minister see reason, who exactly holds the power in the LDP at the present time?

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