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The Collective
Sunday, September 23, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT: Moderate Chosen as Japan’s Next Premier

Facing one of its deepest crises in its half-century grip on power, the Liberal Democrats settled on Mr. Fukuda, 71, to steady a party wobbling from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s disastrous one-year government, his mysterious resignation 11 days ago and a surging opposition.

Fukuda is a shift from the last two PM’s:

Mr. Fukuda, sometimes described as a foreign policy “dove,” has long emphasized the importance of building strong ties with China and the rest of Asia and represents a break from the nationalist Mr. Abe and his predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi.

The vote count:

The party’s national lawmakers and prefectural chapters handed Mr. Fukuda 330 out of 527 valid votes. His only rival, Taro Aso, 67, the party’s secretary general who shared Mr. Abe’s right-wing views, won 197 votes.

In regards to future elections:

As prime minister, Mr. Fukuda will not have to call a general election and seek a popular mandate until September 2009, though he has hinted that he may do so next spring after Parliament passes next year’s budget.

The newly empowered opposition Democratic Party, which repeated its call today for an immediate general election, is expected to try to force a general election by blocking the extension of a Japanese naval mission in the Indian Ocean to help in the American-led war in Afghanistan. A special law permitting that mission, passed in 2001 to circumvent Japan’s pacifist Constitution, expires on Nov. 1.

It should be interesting to watch.

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Filed under: Elections, Asia | |

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