TOKYO — Toshihiro Nikai, who will continue as the longest-serving secretary general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, is now seen as the foremost power broker in the ruling party.
The 81-year-old orchestrated Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s landslide victory in Monday’s LDP’s presidential election to become the country’s next prime minister.
Nikai has not only developed extensive networks with the LDP, but also its junior coalition partner Komeito, as well as among members of opposition parties. He also has close ties with China and South Korea, and has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Just one week ago, Nikai, a native of Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, became the LDP’s longest-serving secretary general, breaking the record for the party’s No. 2 post held by Kakuei Tanaka who was the prime minister in the 1970s.