Former agriculture minister Akira Gunji was elected Tuesday to head the Democratic Party of Japan’s members in the Upper House.
The vote was held a day after his predecessor, Azuma Koshiishi, was elected vice president of the Upper House.
Supported by lawmakers close to Koshiishi, the 63-year-old Gunji beat former Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, 75, by a vote of 33-24. Gunji also won support from moderates and union-backed members.
His term will expire at the end of next year’s ordinary Diet session.
“Many people say public trust in the DPJ has not been restored at all,” Gunji said at a news conference. “We should unite to win the next general election in three years.”
The DPJ suffered crushing defeats in the Upper House election last month and the Lower House campaign in December.
The loss in the Lower House election booted the DPJ out of control of the government.