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Wednesday, 10th September 2008
In General Japan News,

Candidates compete to take over as PM

Five candidates have now officially entered the race to succeed Yasuo Fukuda as the next prime minister of Japan.

The line-up includes the former foreign minister Taro Aso who is the odds-on favourite to win the contest.

Mr Aso, who has spoken of the need for tax cuts and public spending to boost the nation's economy, leads both party and public opinion poll.

At a press conference with his four rivals, he commented: "People are hoping for politics to deal with their concerns, to address worries like safety and their livelihoods."

Other candidates for the top job include former transport minister Nobuteru Ishihara and Yuriko Koike who is attempting to become Japan's first female prime minister.

The Liberal Democratic Party leadership election takes place on September 22nd.

Mr Fukuda resigned as prime minister on September 1st after less than a year in office. His successor is expected to take his place at an extraordinary session of the Diet on September 24th.

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