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UPDATE1: Fukushima secures 5th term as leader of Social Democratic Party.

TOKYO, Jan. 20 Kyodo

(EDS: UPDATING)

Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima secured the party presidential post for the fifth time on Friday with no other party lawmakers filing their candidacy against her.

The 56-year-old House of Councillors member's reelection was assured as an anti-Fukushima group in the small opposition party failed to put up a challenger, SDP lawmakers said.

''I'll make every effort as party leader to rebuild the SDP to receive wide public support,'' Fukushima, who will serve her fifth two-year term, said at a press conference.

She said she aims to increase the SDP's number of seats in the next House of Representatives election, but conflict is apparently intensifying within the party, which has only 10 Diet members.

Tomoko Abe, who chairs the SDP's policy board, indicated the possibility of her leaving the party in the near future due to dissatisfaction with Fukushima's reelection.

''I could make up my mind as a politician,'' Abe said at a news conference. She was part of the anti-Fukushima group.

Fukushima, a third-term upper house member who began her career as a lawyer, was first elected as party leader in 2003, succeeding Takako Doi, a former House of Representatives speaker, who resigned after the SDP performed poorly in the lower house election in November that year.

No voting has taken place for the party's leadership since 1996, when it changed its Japanese name from Nihon Shakaito to Shakai Minshuto. The party's English name was changed from the Japan Socialist Party to the Social Democratic Party of Japan in 1991.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 23, 2012
Words:258
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