The Machimura faction grows

Seki Yoshihiro, an LDP member of the House of Representatives representing Hyogo-3, has announced that he is joining the Machimura faction, making him the eighty-fifth member of the party’s largest faction.

Mr. Seki, a “Koizumi kid” as indicated by his membership in the “Group of 83” (AKA, the Koizumi Kids Klub), is neither the first member of the class of 2005 to join a faction nor the first to join the Machimura faction. Indeed, fifteen Koizumi Kids have joined the faction that has produced the last four prime ministers.

Considering that factions are increasingly unable to deliver anything tangible to members other than sponsorship for junior political appointments, and that the bigger the faction the more competition for those appointments (and thus diminishing marginal returns to the most recent member of a faction), I wonder what Mr. Seki gains from this move. A guarantee that he won’t have his seat taken from him by party election strategists?

Alternatively, it could be a function of the changing nature of the factions, with the Machimura faction ā€” already the descendant of the LDP’s hawkish anti-mainstream tendency ā€” becoming more explicitly ideological, the home of ideologues of both Koizumi and Abe colors. (The two approaches undoubtedly share much in common on constitutional and defense issues, but those who belong to the latter appear to have little or no interest in economic reform.)

Of course, if that’s the case, it raises the question of how long politicians like Fukuda Yasuo will be tolerated within its ranks.

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