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Aso elected LDP president

35 Comments

Former Foreign Minister Taro Aso won the Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election Monday to succeed unpopular Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, reflecting hope in the LDP that his strong name recognition will bring victory in a House of Representatives election widely expected to be called soon.

Aso, a 68-year-old outspoken hawk who was making his fourth bid for the LDP presidency, took 351 of the 527 votes in a landslide victory, defeating his four rivals following a 12-day campaign which centered on such issues as how to shore up Japan's flagging economy amid global financial turmoil.

Aso will be chosen as Japan's new prime minister in parliament Wednesday, given the LDP's majority in the lower house, which has the final say in choosing the country's leader. A new cabinet is expected to be launched the same day.

As for the four other candidates, former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, 56, the first-ever female candidate in an LDP leadership race, took 46 votes, former LDP policy chief Nobuteru Ishihara, 51, 37 votes, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, 51, 25 votes and Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano, 70, 66 votes.

"We're now at the starting line to face new difficulties," said Aso, pledging to deliver victory in widely expected elections in the lower house of parliament. "Once we win the elections, I can fulfill my mission."

Fukuda is quitting after a year of battling with a split parliament. The LDP runs the powerful lower house, but the opposition took control of the upper house in elections last year, and has repeatedly embarrassed his government by blocking or delaying high-profile legislation.

The next prime minister will face mounting pressure to renew the LDP's mandate by calling snap lower house elections. Speculation is rampant that the balloting could come as soon as next month.

The disarray at the top of the government is raising worries about how the country will handle its economic troubles. Inflation is up and growth has stalled, effectively ending a lengthy period of expansion.

"Concerns about the political vacuum are growing, as the LDP eyes a leadership battle with the opposition party," the Nikkei business newspaper said in a commentary Monday. "The public is closely watching if Aso can promptly demonstrate his leadership."

As prime minister, Aso would bring a colorful personality to a post that has suffered in the two years since Junichiro Koizumi -- a silver-maned premier who publicly imitated Elvis Presley during a trip to Graceland -- left office.

Koizumi's nationalist successor, Shinzo Abe, quit after only a year amid scandals and his own health troubles. The dour Fukuda, considered at first an experienced hand, has failed to energize the party or draw voter interest.

Aso, however, is likely to make headlines from day one.

He has riled Beijing by calling China a military threat, angered Asians by claiming that Taiwan's educational success is rooted in Japanese wartime colonial policies, and compared Japan's opposition party to the Nazis.

In comments leading up to Monday's vote, Aso has tried to craft a subtler, more mature image.

"The greatest concern right now is the economy," Aso told a crowd of supporters outside Tokyo in a drizzling rain on Sunday. "America is facing a financial crisis ... we must not allow that to bring us down as well."

Political analyst Minoru Morita said the fate of Aso's government depends on the results of national elections expected in coming months, in which his party is widely expected to lose large number of seats.

"As the LDP's grip on power is weakening, Aso could end up not being able to achieve anything," Morita said.

© Wire reports

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
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But surely his strong name recognition will work against him.

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Done and dusted, as I said a few weeks ago. Nothing but a PR stunt to make the drones think they live in a democracy. Stand by for an official visit to the US on October 25th (where he'll be given his instructions), dissolution of the Diet on Oct 29th and a national election on Nov. 9th.

An utter sham.

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We're in for some great comedy.

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'politics' in this country are so scripted. yeah, I really thought one of those other 'candidates' was gonna win the 'election'

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Any bets on how long he will last ? Good Luck Mr. Taro Aso.

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I'll just bet he DOESN'T last very long! Japanese politics is in for an international setback of at least two decades if he lasts more than a few months.

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Well, you have to remember those who vote in LDP elections are just LDP party members, which means basically a bunch of 60-ish more or less disgruntled ossans. You can't expect drastic, ground breaking choices from these guys... Koizumi was a freak.

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Aso is a bloody disgrace. His families' mining company during WW2 used and abused POW labor for profit. To this day it has not been acknowledged as such. This right winger will for sure do something to anger many asian nations and others. Bad, bad choice.

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POW labor for profit

POW??

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Wow. Hope he talks some more about manga.

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Another geriatric loser in charge of Japan

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I was wondering why the 5 candidates were going all over the country, and appearing on all of those TV shows. It's not like the Japanese public is voting for them. Who cares?!?!? The LDP chooses, and I am glad they chose Aso. I don't like Aso, but I figure with the election coming up, he will probably be the leader for a very short time. So, it's best to get him now than later.

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His selection wont help to built a better relation to japanese neighbours.

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God help us all. Structural reform is dead as a door nail, as will be any meaningful moves to address the shortfall in pension funding. Aso may be a "hawk", but he is a "chicken hawk" since he does not have the guts to raise the consumption tax, which everyone knows is needed. Easier just to build more roads to give a temporary boost to the economy and let the next PM deal with the root problems. Koizumi-style politics are just a distant memory now. LDP-style pork barrel is back in full strength.

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I would like to start by saying congratulations to Former Foreign Minister Taro Aso for winning the Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election. The future of the LDP and the future of Japan rests on his hands. He has to make the necessary difficult decisions to fix the Japanese economy, bring down inflation to a manageable level and restore faith and confidence of the Japanese people towards the LDP. I have to point out here that his first action as Prime Minister must be, has to be and should be to solve the issue of the Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea. He has to come out with a clear solution to bring the remaining 9 Japanese citizens whom are still alive and remain captive in North Korea. Until he has done that no Japanese will vote for the LDP in the next election as this abduction issue by North Korea have cause too much pain and suffering to the families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea. Prime Minister Taro Aso, please do something and get the 9 Japanese citizens whom are still alive back to Japan.

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Who believes he's too right wing ... where were your statements when Koizumi was PM?!

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a bit of "sweet buns asoooo" action at last. he has reached his goal but with no real idealism. more Chinese democracy from the LDP coming up.

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He may be the next PM, but he'll always be the runner up to the runner up to the runner up of the last guy who couldn't finish the job. Ahh politics.

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I have to point out here that his first action as Prime Minister must be, has to be and should be to solve the issue of the Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea.

There are more pressing issues which affect all Japanese, not just a handful. I bet those who lost their pension data, or who are struggling to make ends meet could give a rat's arse about the abduction cases.

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Well it was a forgone conclusion that Aso would be the new PM. Let's see what he can do and put away the panic for a while.

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Like Americans with "Bush the sequel" will Japanese people stupidly follow the LDP again? Probably yes.

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The LDP crowd in one of the prefectural representative blocks voted for Ozawa! Ah the benefits of anonymity - you can be a tough guy with no repercussions.

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Aso is a bloody disgrace. His families' mining company during WW2 used >and abused POW labor for profit

Unless Taro Aso himself was personally involved in this I really don't see how that's relevant to judging him as a person or as a politician.

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The election of Aso is a sad day for Japan and the Japanese people, who had no say in his election. Aso was chosen by the group of right wing Fascists who have ruled over this country for the past 5 decades. "Democracy" does not really exist here, because the people are brainwahsed from birth. Choosing this man as leader of the worlds second largest economy will only speed its decline to becoming the worlds 5th or sixth largest economy. His right wing policies will do nothing but speed Japan`s decline into the political and economic backwaters of the world. It will be interesting to see in the next few weeks if what another poster above prophesied - that he will be off to see Bush in America to get his orders. Japan is the lapdog of America, after all, and it is the USA who is to blame for the current diabolical political system in this country. It suits the Americans to have the LDP in power here, and the poor brainwashed Japanese do not have the guts or the intelligence, sadly, to vote these losers out of power.

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While I would agree with you Ossan, a leader of such a prominent nation as Japan should do the right thing in at least acknowledging what his families' company did in the past. Because it's the right thing to do, and to deny or ignore it is impractical considering the extreme baggage it is and the potential problems it will cause your immediate neighbors. It really is not that hard of a thing to do. PM Koizumi did some pretty amazing things in terms of expressing apologies for what Japan did during WW2, the last thing we need is someone to take things back.

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PM Koizumi did some pretty amazing things in terms of expressing >apologies for what Japan did during WW2, the last thing we need is >someone to take things back.

So, you believe that Taro Aso as PM would take back everything his predecessors have done? Destroy the current Sino-Japanese relationship that has been built? You believe that PM Aso would not apologize the way Koizumi did and snicker we'll do it again? Please, let's get real. This is politics and diplomacy and Taro Aso has been Foreign Minister without starting WWIII. Even Hu Jing Tao has made his position clear that a new PM isn't going to wreck what China has worked hard to achieve.

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The election of Aso is a sad day for Japan and the Japanese people, who >had no say in his election. Aso was chosen by the group of right wing >Fascists who have ruled over this country for the past 5 decades.

This makes as much sense as saying the Aryan Nation and the KKK have ruled the United States for decades. Nonsense.

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Interesting how foreigners seem to think this is somehow bad news, but the Japanese are overjoyed by word of Aso taking the reigns. He will preach Japanese pride, the role Japan has to play as the leader of Asia, and Japan's deepening connections with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He comes from lineage the average person can respect, and is a self-made politician who earned his way to the top. The only people taking potshots at him are not from this country, and by doing so betray their lack of understanding of Japan.

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...a self-made politician who earned his way to the top. The only people taking potshots at him are not from this country, and by doing so betray their lack of understanding of Japan.

Wrong, wrong, and partially wrong. I will agree with you on one thing. The DPJ is no saviour for the foreigner in Japan. All frustrations will not disappear if their day of victory ever comes. As far as daily life is concerned, very little will change. If what Aso's family did in the past, for example, bothers you today, then you probably have too much time to ruminate in various ways, and I suggest you just leave. chibaman has made such a decision. The rants to continue for just a little while longer.

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The DPJ is no saviour for the foreigner in Japan.

So? The Japanese government is elected to serve the 99% of the population that is Japanese. If anyone else wants a "saviour" (sic) they better naturalize.

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If anyone else wants a "saviour" (sic) they better naturalize.

Please explain to me how this makes any sense.

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If, as is widely expected, Aso calls for a lower-house election in the very near future, the Japanese people will have an opportunity to voice their opinion of the selection of Aso and the manner in which the LDP has been governing the country. Undoubtedly there will be many Japanese people who vote for DPJ candidates rather than LDP candidates, just as there were many Americans who voted for Gore or Kerry rather than Bush. However, if the LDP wins the election, that should serve as adequate evidence of the Japanese electorate's views.

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Banzai, Banzai, Banzai!!!! Out with the old kiss up in with new strong! I for one am over joyed that Aso is now the leader of the LDP other than that kiss up!

I just hope that he sticks to his guns and does not give into the kiss ups in the LDP.

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Chibaman,

The Japanese government is not elected to serve the country's foreign population. It's that simple.

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Folks, when consider what "peacefully rising" China has been doing to Japan, it is extremely critical for Japan to remain economically and millitarilly strong. In light of real threats from China's ambiguous military rise, the Aso administration will sure fit in the deals with Beijing's prefferable hide and seek martial games while compromising with the opponents. As a person who deeply concerned over SouthEast Asia's security, I cordially invite everyone to visit and comment on vietwill.org Your patronage is appreciated.

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