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Cracks in LDP faction once headed by Abe may deepen under group leadership

One year after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, members of the Liberal Democratic Party faction he headed have failed to find a successor, forcing them to move toward a group leadership structure.

But unlike Abe, who had the ability to unite the now 100-member faction, none of the new leaders have the same influence. Experts say cracks in the faction that were already visible before Abe’s death could deepen under the new structure, making it much less powerful than its size would indicate, and possibly result in disgruntled members breaking away.

Five top faction members are expected to make up the new governing committee. They include industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, LDP policy chief Koichi Hagiuda, the party’s parliamentary affairs chief Tsuyoshi Takagi, chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and LDP Upper House secretary general Hiroshige Seko.