Political Careers

  • Albrecht Rothacher


How does one become a LDP Member of Parliament? Gerald Curtis1 followed in 1967 the campaign of Bunsei Sato, a first-time candidate and local politician, in the electoral district (Oita 2) around Beppu, a spa in Oita prefecture. The candidacy of Sato, previously a member of Oita’s prefectural assembly, first had to be approved by the leaders of the prefectural party and then be endorsed by the LDP’s national election committee, in which all faction chiefs are represented. At both levels, Sato had to overcome the bitter opposition of two senior-ranking LDP MPs who already (together with a Socialist) represented Oita 2 in the Diet. Both feared (rightly) that Sato would displace one of them and not the Socialist incumbent of the third Diet seat. At the prefectural level Sato was approved due to the vigorous backing of two locally powerful politicians who saw in him their political heir and representative in Tokyo. They also facilitated his adoption as a factional candidate by Isamu Murakami (whose faction has since been dissolved and absorbed into Nakasone’s), who had to push for Sato’s party endorsement against the resistance of the faction chiefs of his two local rivals. The endorsement was achieved in a complex compromise which had relatively little to do with Sato or with the situation in Oita 2.


Prime Minister Foreign Minister Faction Chief Opposition Parti Electoral District 
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  1. 1.
    Gerald L. Curtis, Election Campaigning Japanese Style (New York: Columbia University Press, 1971).Google Scholar
  2. 22.
    Cornelia Meyer, in Nagatacho Focus (UBS Philips & Drew) no. 2, 21 April 1991.Google Scholar
  3. 23.
    Helmut Schmidt, however, appears convinced that Takeo Fukuda belongs to the peaceloving left wing of the LDP: Helmut Schmidt, Menschen and Mächte (Berlin: Siedler Verlag, 1987) pp. 423 and 432.Google Scholar
  4. 34.
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yasuhiro Nakasone, Official Government Bulletin, May 1986, pp. 9–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Albrecht Rothacher 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albrecht Rothacher
    • 1
  1. 1.TokyoJapan

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