Date of birth: Dec. 11, 1949
Electoral district: Upper House; Ibaraki (third term)
Gunji served as senior vice agricultural minister in the Cabinets of Prime Ministers Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan. His long career in the agriculture ministry is the probable reason he has now been tapped for the top spot.
He dropped out of Meiji Gakuin University in 1971 to work for the Isejin Group, which runs hotel, real estate and restaurant businesses in Ibaraki Prefecture. Gunji is a native of Mito, the capital of Ibaraki, where the Isejin Group is based.
Gunji became deputy secretary general of Zenkoku Nodanro, an agricultural cooperative union group, when it was launched in 1989. He served in key union positions until 1998, when he was elected to the Upper House from the Ibaraki district.
He has chaired of the farm, forestry and fisheries division of the DPJ's policy affairs council.