Natsuo Yamaguchi, 64, head of the Komeito party, won a fifth term as party leader in an uncontested race on Sept. 9. Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), will formally select him as its leader at the party convention on Sept. 17. Since the ruling LDP holds a sole majority in the two Diet chambers, Yamaguchi will be tested over whether he can exert an influence over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has expressed eagerness for constitutional amendment.
Komeito has been elected its leaders unopposed since 1964. Yamaguchi has been serving in his current post for seven years since 2009. He will become the second-longest-serving Komeito head, following Yoshikatsu Takeiri, if he serves out his two-year term. (Abridged)