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Tarutoko to run in DPJ leadership election.

TOKYO, Aug. 11 Kyodo

House of Representatives member Shinji Tarutoko plans to run in the governing Democratic Party of Japan's leadership election, expected to be called in late August, to pick the successor to party leader and Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Tarutoko's aides said Thursday.

A fifth-term lower house member, Tarutoko, 52, the former chairman of the DPJ's Diet Affairs Committee, who currently chairs the lower house's Committee on Fundamental National Policies, lost to Kan in the party's June 2010 presidential election.

Among other possible candidates for the coming contest are Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, 54, who is seen as a front-runner, and Sumio Mabuchi, 50, the former minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism who is preparing to run.

Former Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa has indicated his willingness to stand, while Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda and former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara are also said to be potential candidates.

Tarutoko, who represents Osaka Prefecture's No. 12 single-seat constituency covering the cities of Neyagawa, Daito and Shijonawate, said in March he would throw his hat in if Kan stepped down.

Kan, who first expressed in early June his intension to leave office in the near future, said Wednesday he is ready to step down soon after two key bills are passed in parliament, which looks likely by late August.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Aug 15, 2011
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