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New Komeito, the junior but pivotal member of the ruling coalition, re-elected Takenori Kanzaki as its leader at a party convention Sunday in Tokyo.

Kanzaki, who has held the post since November 1998, was unopposed in his bid for a fourth two-year term as party chief.

Tetsuzo Fuyushiba was reappointed as the party’s secretary general.

Deputy party head Toshiko Hamayotsu and senior vice leaders Chikara Sakaguchi and Shozo Kusakawa are likewise staying in their posts.

“I decided to run for a fourth term because we (executive members) bear the responsibility for continuing to steer the party as it has reached a critical stage of putting the finishing touches on the nation’s structural reforms and deciding Japan’s vision for the future, ” Kanzaki later told a news conference.

In the party’s policy agenda endorsed at the convention, New Komeito describes itself as “the third party that bears responsibility for Japan’s politics,” underscoring that it is in the same league as the Liberal Democratic Party, with which it forms the coalition, and the Democratic Party of Japan.

Kanzaki said his party has grown into this position after maintaining a “mature coalition” with the LDP over the past five years.

Marking the 40th anniversary of its foundation later this month, New Komeito has a graver mission and responsibility as a party promoting pacifism and welfare, according to the policy agenda.

On amending the Constitution, Kanzaki said his party will engage in active debate after receiving the green light at Sunday’s convention.

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