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Japan PM hopeful Aso to offer rivals key posts: report

Conservative former foreign minister Taro Aso Third Realigned Junichiro Koizumi>Koizumi Cabinet

Secretary Shinzo Abe
Internal Affairs Heizo Takenaka
Justice Seiken Sugiura
Foreign Affairs Taro Aso
Finance Sadakazu Tanigaki
Education Kenji Kosaka
Health Jiro Kawasaki
 plans to offer rival Yuriko Koike a cabinet position if he is elected Japan's new prime minister later this month, a report said Sunday.

Aso is also considering handing three other rivals for the top job key posts if he wins the ballot to replace unpopular Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda who abruptly quit on September 1, the Yomiuri Shimbun said, quoting sources.

The move is an attempt to unite the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP LDP - Linux Documentation Project ) which is fielding a record number of candidates for the September 22 vote to head the party and become premier, the top-selling daily said.

Aso, 67, who supports government spending Government spending or government expenditure consists of government purchases, which can be financed by seigniorage, taxes, or government borrowing. It is considered to be one of the major components of gross domestic product.  to revive Asia's troubled largest economy, is the frontrunner against Koike and the other lawmakers.

Aso, whom the paper says is already backed by a majority of LDP lawmakers, has urged his colleagues to unite behind the new leader after the poll, whoever that turns out to be.

"It is a good tradition of this party to unite under the new leader, after the result of the fair election comes out," the paper quoted him saying.

The report comes two days after popular former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi Junichiro Koizumi (小泉 純一郎 Koizumi Jun'ichirō  threw his weight behind Koike, who is trailing in polls in her bid to become the nation's first female leader.

Koike says she will champion economic reforms that Koizumi spearheaded.

Aso's other rivals include Kaoru Yosano, the economic and fiscal policy minister, who has openly criticised Aso's budget policies and called for fiscal discipline.

The two other younger rivals are 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).
, a free-market reformist and son of outspoken Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara Shintaro Ishihara (石原 慎太郎 Ishihara Shintarō , and former defence chief Shigeru Ishiba.

Japanese media have speculated that the new premier will bring forward general elections as early as October 26 to take advantage of expected initial high public support for the newly appointed premier and cabinet.

Aso denied the media reports Sunday, saying "before calling snap elections," we have policies to implement "such as an emergency economic policy package."

"No one here has said we plan to call snap elections at the beginning of the (next) parliament session," he told public broadcaster NHK NHK Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
NHK Nihon Hoso Kyokai (Japanese Broadcasting Association)
NHK Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai (anime) 
 during a programme during which the other four candidates also appeared.
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Publication:AFP Asian Edition
Date:Sep 14, 2008
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