Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General
Taro Aso formally announced his decision on Friday afternoon to run
in the party's presidential election, according to Kyodo News.
The former foreign minister declared his candidacy at a press
conference in Tokyo.
Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda in the morning
expressed his intention to run in the election at a temporary
meeting of a party faction he belongs to.
Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga, who showed willingness to
seek the party leader's post, decided on Friday to give up after
exchanging ideas with Fukuda and decided to support him.
The upcoming competition will be a battle between Aso and
Fukuda. The latter enjoys obvious advantage in the rival since over
a half of the LDP factions have decided to extend support for him,
Japan's television network NHK reported.
The LDP decided on Thursday at its General Council meeting to
hold the presidential election on September 23 to pick a new
president to replace Shinzo Abe, who expressed his intention to
resign on Wednesday. It announced on Friday the formalities of the
leadership election and will accept candidacies on Saturday.
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Thursday turned down
junior followers' request and ruled out the possibility of his
running in the election.
Endorsement by at least 20 LDP lawmakers is needed for being
accepted as a candidate for the LDP presidential election.
Since the LDP enjoys the majority in the lower house, or the
House of Representatives, which holds the decisive power in the
Diet, the LDP president will be naturally appointed prime
Abe was elected the 21st LDP president on September 20, 2006,
and was appointed prime minister by the lower house six days
(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2007)