TOKYO: MOTEGI Toshimitsu took office as secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday, succeeding Akira Amari.
Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio, also LDP president, and Motegi, 66, former foreign minister, will lead the party going into next summer’s election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament.
Speaking at a meeting of the LDP’s General Council, Motegi said, “I’ll work hard to lead” the party.
Kishida told reporters that he will concurrently serve as foreign minister until he forms a new cabinet on Wednesday.
Amari stepped down as LDP secretary-general following his defeat in his constituency in Sunday’s election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber.
Motegi’s previous posts also include industry minister and the party’s policy chief.
He supported Kishida in the LDP’s presidential race in September. Assuming the party’s No. 2 post means that Motegi will draw attention as a possible successor to Kishida.
The new secretary-general will face challenges such as enacting a supplementary budget to recover the Japanese economy from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Motegi’s tasks will also include party reforms as Kishida calls for changes such as limiting the tenure of party executives.