Former Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa has decided to back Economy, Industry and Trade Minister Banri Kaidea in Monday's party presidential election to choose a successor to Prime Minister Naoto Kan. A total of 398 DPJ members will cast their votes in the election.
Earlier Friday, Ozawa -- who cannot vote in Monday's election because his voting privilege has been suspended following his indictment in a political funds scandal -- said he could not support former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara because his election would be a disaster for Japan and he could not unite the fractured DPJ.
Ozawa and Hatoyama met twice during the day. Ozawa had tried to find a suitable candidate from with his group but in the end, he decided to back Kaieda who is a member of Hatoyama's faction. Ozawa's faction has 140 members, while Hatoyama's faction has about 50.
A DPJ lawmaker was quoted by NHK as saying the election is turning into a battle between anti-Maehara and pro-Maehara supporters. Maehara has in the past tried to diminish Ozawa's influence within the DPJ. The two men had a 10-minute meeting on Thursday.© Japan Today