banner6

Aso admits defeat likely in Japan race

Japan's former foreign minister acknowledged Sunday he faced probable defeat in the race to replace ailing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but said he would stay in the running for the sake of staging an open election.

Aso admits defeat likely in Japan race
Japan's former foreign minister acknowledged Sunday he faced probable defeat in the race to replace ailing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but said he would stay in the running for the sake of staging an open election.

Taro Aso, a high-profile member of the Abe government, initially emerged as the front-runner in the Sept. 23 ruling party election to replace the prime minister, who abruptly resigned this past week. But support for Aso's sole opponent, Abe critic Yasuo Fukuda, has jumped since several party heavyweights said they would back him.

Fukuda is considered more dovish than Aso, but both candidates pledged Saturday to extend Japan's support for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan. The new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party is ensured election as prime minister because of the party's majority in parliament's lower house.

Aso, 66, did not contest a talk show moderator's suggestion that Fukuda would most likely win.

"Yes, but if I drop out, the party would be criticized as having chosen a prime minister through back room deals," Aso said on public broadcaster NHK. "I have decided to run if only for the sake of holding an open election."



AP
Last Mod: 16 Eylül 2007, 17:23
Add Comment