Fukuda, Aso in race to be Japan’s next prime minister

By Xinhua

TokyoFormer : Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yasuo Fukuda and the Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Taro Aso filed their candidature Saturday for the ruling party’s presidential election.

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Fukuda and Aso are the two candidates for the party helm as the LDP’s acceptance of candidacies closed at 11.30 a.m. Saturday.

The two candidates will hold a policy debate Saturday afternoon and will carry out a street campaign in Tokyo and other major cities in the following days.

Topics to dominate the election include extension of the anti-terrorism law and revivification of the LDP after its historic defeat in the House of Councillors election on July 29.

It is currently a general estimate of the Japanese media that Fukuda enjoys an obvious advantage in the duel with Aso, the LDP’s number two, since eight out of nine LDP factions have decided to extend support to Fukuda.

The LDP decided Thursday to hold presidential elections on Sep 23 to pick the successor to Shinzo Abe, who expressed his intention to resign Wednesday and was admitted to hospital the following day.

Since the LDP enjoys a majority in the House of Representatives, which holds the decisive power in the Diet, the LDP president will be naturally appointed prime minister.