Fumio Kishida is on track to be Japan’s new prime minister.
The former foreign minister won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party - or LDP - leadership race, which has virtually ensured that he'll take over from incumbent prime minister Yoshihide Suga.
The unpopular Suga is not seeking re-election, after just one year in office.
Kishida defeated former defense and foreign minister Taro Kono, seen as an outspoken maverick, in a second round run-off vote.
However, the soft-spoken member of parliament enjoys only moderate public support and has a bland image - which could spell problems for the LDP in the upcoming elections.
Kishida’s victory is unlikely to trigger a huge shift in policies as Japan seeks to cope with an assertive China and to revive an economy hit by the global health crisis.
In his acceptance speech, Kishida vowed to lead a transformed party.
"From today, I will, with all of my energy, get straight to work. Party members around the country and members of the parliament, please work with me."
He is expected to form a new cabinet and reshuffle the LDP executive in early October, ahead of the election which is expected in early November.