Tokyo, Aug. 20 (Jiji Press) — Natsuo Yamaguchi is highly likely to be reappointed as head of Komeito at a party convention on Sept. 30, according to informed sources.
Yamaguchi, already the longest-serving Komeito chief, would be allowed to extend his tenure at the plenary gathering because what the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party needs before next year’s unified local elections and House of Councillors poll is stability, the sources said.
Yamaguchi came to head Komeito in September 2009, the month after the party and the LDP fell from power following their humiliating defeat in a House of Representatives election. His current term is set to end in September.
Some party members are calling for a leadership transition to younger generations. But many others believe that there is no one but Yamaguchi, 66, who can lead the party ahead of the forthcoming local contests and Upper House election, in which he is seeking another six-year term as its member and has already secured Komeito’s endorsement as an official candidate despite an intraparty rule setting the retirement age for lawmakers at 69.
During his tenure, Komeito has been widely viewed as failing to show its presence in the ruling coalition. But Yamaguchi has produced some results, including the coalition’s decision to introduce reduced rates when the consumption tax is raised from 8 pct to 10 pct in October 2019.