Tadatomo Yoshida, leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), said on Jan. 11 that he will not run in the upcoming party leadership race.
Yoshida, 61, who lost his seat in the House of Councillors in a 2016 election, made the decision after deeming it desirable to elect the next leader from among SDP legislators.
“The activities of a party leader without a legislator’s badge are very limited. I can’t sufficiently fulfill my duties,” he told reporters at party headquarters in Tokyo.
Yoshida had notified other high-ranking members of the SDP in a meeting earlier in the day of his intention not to seek another term as party chief. However, some senior members reportedly urged Yoshida to stay on.
After serving as a member of the Oita Prefectural Assembly, Yoshida won a seat in the upper chamber through the proportional representation system in a 2010 election. He was appointed as leader of the SDP in 2013 to replace his predecessor and upper house member Mizuho Fukushima.
After he was defeated in the upper house election in 2016, Yoshida announced he would step down as party head. However, he was persuaded by party executives to stay on.
A senior official of the party’s Oita prefectural chapter said on Jan. 11 that Yoshida’s latest decision to step down “is not final.”
The SDP is scheduled to hold a vote for the leadership race on Jan. 27 and 28 and count the ballots on Jan. 29 if multiple members file candidacies. However, nobody has so far announced their intention to run.
Since he made the announcement the day before the campaign for the leadership election was to kick off on Jan. 12, the SDP leadership is considering postponing the start of the official campaign period.