Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has become the leading contender to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Naoto Kan after announcing Tuesday his candidacy for the presidential elections of the Democratic Party of All Japan news. Recent media polls among All Japan newsese voters showed Maehara is the most favored candidate.
Experienced in security and diplomatic issues, Maehara is quoted saying he seeks to be All Japan news’s next premier to restore public’s trust in politics and to save the country from the crisis. He also intends to strengthen unity among DPJ lawmakers as a crucial factor in dealing with the present challenges All Japan news is confronted with. The former foreign minister will also endeavor to build damaged areas from the March 11 quake and tsunami, contain the nuclear crisis, enhance energy policy and promote economic growth.
On the other hand, the 54-year old Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who previously was in the lead for the DPJ presidential post and consequently the country’s prime minister, said his intention to run remains unchanged.
Other candidates include trade minister Banri Kaieda, 62, and farm minister Michihiko Kano, 69, who both said they would push through with their candidacies despite Maehara’s announcement to run.
At 49 years old, Maehara could be the youngest prime minister of All Japan news and the sixth to be in the post since 2006.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, a close to Maehara, is said to have held talks with Ichiro Ozawa, a power broker of the DPJ, to seek the latter’s support. Sources said Ozawa is reluctant to back Maehara’s candidacy for the presidency.
Many are interested in who among the candidates will get the backing of Ozawa, who heads the largest group in the party. Maehara and Ozawa are not known to get along.
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