Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering keeping Toshihiro Nikai as secretary general of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party when he revamps the party executive lineup next week, sources familiar with the plan said Wednesday.
Nikai, who assumed the No. 2 party post in August 2016, is largely credited with guiding the LDP to solid wins in recent national elections.
Abe, who heads the LDP, has said he will pick a team that can achieve political stability and tackle new challenges when he reshuffles his cabinet and LDP executives on Sept. 11.
LDP lawmakers expect Abe to keep Nikai, 80, in his current job to maintain the status quo.
"The replacement of Mr Nikai would change the dynamics within the party and become a source of instability" for the government, a senior administration official said.
Some within the LDP, however, are critical of Nikai's recent moves to boost party strength by admitting independent and former opposition lawmakers into the ruling party.
Another key LDP figure, policy chief Fumio Kishida, is believed to have sought the post of secretary general, but Abe will likely keep him in the current post of policy chief, according to the sources.
The 62-year-old Kishida, chairman of the Policy Research Council, once served as foreign minister and is viewed as a potential successor to Abe, whose term as LDP president expires in 2021.© KYODO