Top Party Leaders
Natsuo Yamaguchi was born in what is now Hitachinaka City, Ibaragi Prefecture, on July 12, 1952. Having graduated from University of Tokyo's Faculty of Law in 1978, Yamaguchi began practicing as an attorney in Tokyo from 1988. In 1990, he successfully ran on the party ticket in the House of Representatives election, winning two terms. He then ran as a New Komeito candidate for the House of Councilors in 2001. Prior to his appointment as New Komeito Chief Representative in September 2009, Yamaguchi served as Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Defense Agency and chaired New Komeito's Policy Research Council, the party's top policymaking organ, since 2008. Considered by his peers both within the party and in parliament as an authority on a wide range of policy issues, Yamaguchi led the Japanese government's effort to support demining programs worldwide and ban cluster bombs. Among his domestic successes have been initiatives to earthquake-proof public schools and to settle a longstanding air pollution lawsuit against the government in favor of the plaintiffs. Yamaguchi currently lives in Tokyo with his wife and has three children, one daughter and two sons.
Yoshihisa Inoue was born in Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture, on July 24, 1947. He graduated from Tohoku University's Faculty of Engineering in 1970, having majored in metallurgical processes. After a stint as a reporter for the Komei Shimbun, the party's daily organ, he successfully ran on the party ticket for a seat in the House of Representatives in 1990. In 1996, he won a seat in the House of Representatives through the Tohoku proportional representation bloc, serving seventh terms. Prior to his appointment as Secretary General in September 2009, Inoue served as Vice Chief Representative in 2006 after chairing New Komeito's Policy Research Council and Tax Research Council. In parliament, Inoue served on numerous committees in both chambers, becoming familiar with an array of issues ranging from the tax code and political reform to international peace building and economic-industrial policy. He was instrumental in the enactment of a national cancer initiative and other laws in support of the physically challenged and fertility treatment. An avid fan of jazz and bicycling, Inoue currently lives in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, and has two children, a son and daughter.