23 Aug '11, 4am

Japan's Maehara to shake up PM contest

TOKYO: Japan's popular ex-foreign minister Seiji Maehara was expected on Tuesday to announce his candidacy to replace Naoto Kan as prime minister next week, shaking up the leadership race. Maehara, once dubbed 'Japan's Tony Blair' for his telegenic charm and ease before the cameras, is from the conservative wing of the ruling party and known for his strong stance towards China and North Korea. An announcement by Maehara, expected in the early evening, would pit him against the favourite so far, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in the contest for the leadership of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The Nikkei financial daily reported that Maehara told supporters: "I'm resolved to stake my political life (on the party election). I want to run." At age 49, Maehara would become Japan's youngest post-war prime minister if he were to win the party presidency in a vote schedule...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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