The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will choose a new leader at a meeting on Jan 18 to replace Banri Kaieda who lost his seat in last Sunday's lower house election.
Kaieda, who led the DPJ to its third consecutive thrashing at the polls, announced his resignation on Monday. The DPJ managed to win 73 seats, just 11 up on last time and a long way off the numbers that gave the party control of the house between 2009 and 2012. The ruling coalition waltzed home with 326 seats.
The DPJ will be leaderless during the special Diet session begins on Dec 24.
So far, former DPJ Secretary-General Goshi Hosono is the only candidate to throw his hat into the ring.
"My goal is to put together a powerful opposition force that can stand up to the government and safeguard democracy," Hosono told reporters on Wednesday.
To run for the leadership position, candidates must have the backing of 20 party members.
Japanese media reported Wednesday that DPJ acting President Katsuya Okada, current DPJ Secretary-General Yukio Edano and former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara are all likely to vie for the leadership.
The DPJ, elected in 2009 on a wave of optimism after more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by the LDP, governed haphazardly until 2012 under three weak prime ministers.© Japan Today/AFP