Izumi elected CDPJ leader

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kenta Izumi raises his hands after being elected leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Kenta Izumi, chairperson of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s policy research council, was elected leader of the CDPJ on Tuesday. His term lasts until September 2024.

The leadership election came after former leader Yukio Edano stepped down to take responsibility for the party’s losses in the House of Representatives election that was held in October. Izumi, 47, competed in the leadership election with Seiji Osaka, 62, and Junya Ogawa, 50, both of whom are former parliamentary vice ministers of internal affairs and communications, and Chinami Nishimura, 54, former state minister of health, labor and welfare.

“I became the new 47-year-old captain of the ship. I am the youngest of the four candidates, but not at all too young,” Izumi said immediately after being elected. “As a party to work hard for the citizens and make Japan’s future bright, we will not tolerate unjust politics and will conduct the politics that centers around the citizens from the citizens’ viewpoints.”

Izumi also said in a press conference after the election that he will appoint the three candidates he vied against to party executive positions, and that he aims to appoint women to half of the executive positions.

A major subject of the contest was what to do about the CDPJ’s cooperation with Japanese Communist Party, but the four candidates had no major differences on that topic. The four said in an open debate on Nov. 22 that the CDPJ should continue the cooperation, but with some modifications. They were similarly aligned on other policies as well, showing little originality in their policy ideas.

On tax reform, the four agreed to review the tax rate for the wealthy and increase the scope of corporate tax. They also echoed each other in calling for cancellation of the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station from Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa.

The four were also on the same page in their approval of discussing revisions to the Constitution.

The four competed to obtain the majority of a total of 572 points in the election. Izumi took the most points at 189, less than half. The CDPJ then held a runoff election between the top two candidates — Izumi and Osaka — racing for the majority of 333 runoff points. Izumi gained 205 while Osaka got 128.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kenta Izumi, fourth from right, raises his fist to CDPJ members after being elected party leader.

In the primary election, each of the 140 Diet members belonging to the CDPJ had two points, for a total of 280 points, and the six official party candidates for the upper house election next summer had one point each. Local assembly members had 143 points in total and party members and supporters had another 143 points.

In the runoff election, each of the 140 Diet members had two points, while the six upper house election candidates and representatives of the 47 prefectures had one point each.

The election campaign kicked off Nov. 19.