Former Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Ichiro Ozawa and former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama met Thursday to discuss who to support in Monday's party presidential election that will select a successor to Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
Ozawa told a meeting of his supporters afterwards that the next prime minister should return to the party's 2009 election-winning manifesto rather than follow the current policies of Kan. He also expressed concern that there were too many candidates.
The crowded field includes former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, 49, Finance Minister Yoshiko Noda, 54, Agriculture Minister Michiko Kano, 69, former Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa, 57, former Transport Minister Sumio Mabuchi, 51, and Shinji Tarutoko, 52, the DPJ’s chief of parliamentary affairs.
Campaigning for the election kicks off Saturday. Calls have been growing among some lawmakers for some candidates to drop out of the race. A spokesman for Noda's support group told TBS News that Maehara should drop out. Before Maehara announced his candidacy, Noda was considered the frontrunner.
In Monday's election, 398 DPJ members will cast their votes. Ozawa heads the largest faction with about 140 members.© Japan Today