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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was unanimously re-elected Friday afternoon as president of the Liberal Democratic Party, securing a full two-year term as head of the LDP.

Confirmation came during a meeting of party lawmakers from both Diet chambers held at the LDP’s headquarters. Koizumi’s new term will begin Oct. 1 and run through September 2003.

Roughly 350 LDP members applauded and shouted “no objection” to show their support to Koizumi’s reappointment during a general assembly of all LDP Diet members.

The absence of any opposition to Koizumi was a sign of the party’s support for the popular prime minister, who led the ruling tripartite coalition to a solid victory in last month’s Upper House election.

Koizumi had succeeded the unpopular Yoshiro Mori as president of the LDP and as the nation’s prime minister in April. “I deeply appreciate (your) re-electing me without objection,” Koizumi told the lawmakers. “I will make utmost (efforts) to show the public that the LDP is the party that will be able to ensure Japan’s future prosperity in the new era.”

The three top party executives, Taku Yamasaki, Mitsuo Horiuchi, chairman of the Executive Council, and policy chief Taro Aso are expected to remain in office. Koizumi’s reinstallation was assured Thursday evening, the deadline for filing a candidacy for a formal party presidential election. All party factions had expressed support for the prime minister’s return by Wednesday.

A group headed by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, believed to be against Koizumi’s reform agenda, was one of the first to throw its support behind him.

Yet the prime minister will likely face challenges from both inside and outside the party in the coming months as he tries to push forward painful reforms on the nation’s long-struggling economy.

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