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Yamaguchi secures 6th term as Komeito chief

Komeito chief Natsuo Yamaguchi (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The incumbent chief of Komeito, the coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, secured his sixth consecutive term as party chief on Wednesday as no other candidates threw their hat into the ring.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, 66, was re-elected unopposed as in the past leadership elections.

Yamaguchi assumed the leadership of the party supported by major lay-Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai in September 2009, when his predecessor Akihiro Ota resigned to take responsibility for the party's defeat in the House of Representatives election that year.

The Komeito chief's term is two years. In the first tenure, Yamaguchi served out the remaining period of Ota's leadership.

The re-election of the longest-serving Komeito leader since 1998 signals no change in the party's relationship with the LDP.

The LDP will also pick its new leader in the presidential election on Thursday, with incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe widely projected to beat his sole rival, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba.

Although Komeito, the self-claimed "peace party," sometimes shows different views from the conservative LDP on security issues, the two parties forged a coalition in 1999 and have since cooperated in national elections.

Komeito is expected to decide on its new leadership lineup, including secretary general, at a party convention on Sept. 30.

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