Japan’s main opposition party picks new leader


japantoday– Japan’s main opposition party on Tuesday elected its 47-year-old policy chief as leader, as it tries to regroup following a disappointing electoral performance against the country’s long-ruling conservatives.

Kenta Izumi, who is far from a household name in Japan, takes the helm of the Constitutional Democratic Party after its celebrated founder Yukio Edano stepped down over poor results in October’s election.

Izumi faces the difficult task of uniting Japan’s fractured opposition bloc in the face of the Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled Japan for nearly all of the past seven decades.

He has pledged to strengthen programs to assist the poor and needy in an apparent effort to draw a contrast with the ruling party’s generally pro-business policies.

“We will conduct politics that are people-centered,” he said.

The eight-term lawmaker, who beat three candidates for the leadership job, won his first lower house seat at age 29, unusually young in Japan.

The father of three was born in northern Hokkaido and represents a district in Kyoto where he went to college and began working as a staff member for a local politician.

Japan’s opposition had been hopeful that they could capitalise in October’s vote on public discontent with the ruling party’s virus response after a summer infection surge.

But instead, the LDP under new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida secured a strong majority.