A smiling Taro Kono poses for photographs, standing next to a promotional poster of Japan’s new prime minister and talking up the very man who beat him in a leadership race just a few weeks earlier.

The strange juxtaposition marked one of Kono’s first major appearances as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s new communications chief — a role widely seen as a demotion for the massively popular, Twitter-savvy former vaccine rollout minister.

Kono was unveiling the LDP’s new poster featuring Fumio Kishida, who earlier this month became Japan’s 100th prime minister.