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Japan's Aso announces PM bid as rivals call for change

Flamboyant front-runner Taro Aso Third Realigned Junichiro Koizumi>Koizumi Cabinet
(2005-10-31)

Secretary Shinzo Abe
Internal Affairs Heizo Takenaka
Justice Seiken Sugiura
Foreign Affairs Taro Aso
Finance Sadakazu Tanigaki
Education Kenji Kosaka
Health Jiro Kawasaki
 formally announced his bid to become Japan's next prime minister on Friday as younger rivals called for generational change Generational change is radical change that occurs in an organisation or a population as a result of its members being replaced over time by other individuals with different values or other characteristics.  in the ailing ruling party.

The conservative former foreign minister put the flagging economy at the top of his agenda as he aims to succeed Yasuo Fukuda, who quit suddenly on Monday after months of weak poll ratings and sagging growth.

"The mission given to me is very significant. I must make an appeal in the (party) election for us to work together to revive the economy and dispel the concerns that people in this country have," Aso told a news conference.

The outspoken Aso, 67, has led in early surveys but has met resistance from reformists within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP LDP - Linux Documentation Project ) who distrust him for his eagerness to use public funds See Fund, 3.

See also: Public
 to boost the economy.

Seven lawmakers have signalled interest in becoming the next premier, but anyone who wants to run in the September 22 party race needs the backing of 20 senior LDP members.

Yasufumi Tanahashi Third Realigned Junichiro Koizumi>Koizumi Cabinet
(2005-10-31)

Secretary Shinzo Abe
Internal Affairs Heizo Takenaka
Justice Seiken Sugiura
Foreign Affairs Taro Aso
Finance Sadakazu Tanigaki
Education Kenji Kosaka
Health Jiro Kawasaki
, 45, a former minister for science and technology, met with other LDP politicians from his age-group and voiced hope to join the race for premier.

"It is up to politicians in their 30s and 40s to assume responsibility for the next era. I want to make efforts to run in the race for party leader and bring generational change to politics," Tanahashi said.

Ichita Yamamoto, 50, a colourful politician who holds a senior foreign ministry position, also said he hoped to run.

Yamamoto is a former NGO NGO
abbr.
nongovernmental organization

Noun 1. NGO - an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
nongovernmental organization
 worker and musician. When South Korea lifted a long-standing ban on Japanese cultural imports, Yamamoto put on a concert in Seoul, singing songs in Korean in a bid to show reconciliation.

Japan's youngest premier in modern times was Shinzo Abe Shinzo Abe (安倍 晋三 Abe Shinzō , who was 52 when he took charge in 2006. He quit after a turbulent year, under fire from some LDP elders who said he had not been ready for the job.

The prime minister needs to call general elections by September 2009. Some analysts believe a new prime minister may try to capitalise on any initial popularity to call an election soon.

The opposition last year won one house of parliament in a landmark defeat for the LDP, which has been in power for all but 10 months since 1955 but has been dogged by a series of scandals in recent years.

Despite the race's emerging focus on the economy, analysts said the vote would come down to which candidate is best to lead the party in lower-house general elections.

"A forest of candidates seems to be running in this race, which is different from in past LDP elections," said Jun Iio, a professor of politics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

"The race remains uncertain as lower-house members are most interested in the imminent snap election A snap election is an election called earlier than scheduled. Generally it refers to an election called when no one expects it, usually to capitalize on a unique electoral opportunity or to decide a pressing issue. . So you can't predict what they will do solely on the basis of political creed," he said.

Aso, a renowned foreign policy hawk, has tried to lighten his public image with a quirky sense of humour Noun 1. sense of humour - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humor, humor, humour
 and passion for comic-book subculture.

Other candidates expected to challenge Aso include Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano, a 70-year-old advocate of fiscal responsibility.

Former defence chief Yuriko Koike, 56, who would be Japan's first female leader, hinted Friday she may not have enough support to run.

"Yesterday the weather was good, but today it's changing a bit to cloudy," she said. "I'd like to work jointly (with other lawmakers) to change Japan."

Others contemplating runs include Nobuteru Ishihara Nobuteru Ishihara (石原伸晃 Ishihara Nobuteru, born April 19, 1957) is a Japanese politician.

He was born in Zushi, Kanagawa, the son of author Shintaro Ishihara (now Governor of Tokyo).
, 51, the son of Tokyo's popular nationalist governor, and former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba.
Copyright 2008 AFP Global Edition
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Sep 5, 2008
Words:609
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