• Jiji

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Toshimitsu Motegi, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, became the leader of the intraparty faction that was formerly led by the late Wataru Takeshita, after his appointment at a general meeting of the faction Thursday.

The faction is the third-largest group in the LDP, with 51 members, after the factions led respectively by Shinzo Abe and Taro Aso, both former prime ministers.

Motegi faces the challenge of bolstering his faction's unity, with some faction members in the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of parliament, dissatisfied with his appointment.

The faction's leadership post had been vacant since Takeshita, former chairman of the LDP General Council, died in September.

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki, who still wields influence over the faction's Upper House members after retiring from politics, is said to be opposed to Motegi's promotion to the faction's leadership. But at a regular meeting on Nov. 11, the faction informally decided to appoint Motegi, then acting head, as its leader.

At Thursday's general meeting, the faction also decided to appoint former internal affairs minister Yoshitaka Shindo as its secretary-general. Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato and three others were named deputy leaders.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Motegi said he wants to develop his faction into a powerful group that is amiable, has a culture of openness and can act in unity when needed.

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