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Monday, 22nd August 2011
In General Japan News,

Democratic Party of Japan to choose new PM

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has announced that it will hold a ballot to choose a new leader and, in doing so, effectively crown a new prime minister for Japan.

Set to be held on August 29th, the election will spell the end of Naoto Kan's beleaguered tenure as leader of the nation and of the party.

However, the party has promised the vote under the condition that two bills which Kan has championed - on renewable energy and deficit bonds - pass through the legislature.

The DPJ announced that they will hold leadership debates on the Friday before the election (which will be held on a Monday), placing these on August 26th. News providers such as AFP have noted that this timetable will mean that the Japanese parliament will confirm the new prime minister on August 30th.

One of the frontrunners to take the position, despite having not officially announced himself as a candidate yet, is former foreign minister Seiji Maehara. Sources close to the house of representatives member told news provider Jiji that the politician "has begun final coordinations in preparation to run".

The news of the new election comes as a poll by the Mainichi Daily News revealed that the support for Kan's cabinet has fallen to a new low.

Only 15 per cent of respondents said that they are behind the cabinet, which is the lowest the approval rating has been since the Democratic Party of Japan were voted into power in September 2009.

In the same survey, the organisation found that the disapproval rating for the cabinet stood at 63 per cent, and that a massive 70 per cent of the population disagree with the way the prime minister handled the response to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March.

Written by Mark Smith