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Kan leading Ozawa in DPJ presidential race: Mainichi poll

Prime Minister Naoto Kan is slightly leading ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa in the ongoing party presidential race, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has shown.

The Mainichi asked DPJ legislators, members, supporters and local assembly members affiliated with the party who they support in the Sept. 14 leadership election. The survey is based on interviews with legislators, the DPJ's prefectural chapters and its branches in each constituency, and compiled based on figures as of Sept. 7.

Of the 411 DPJ members of both houses of the Diet, 186 back Ozawa, former secretary-general of the DPJ, while 175 support Kan. An earlier Mainichi survey showed that as of Sept. 3, 185 DPJ legislators supported Ozawa while Kan garnered support from 164.

In contrast, Kan has secured backing from rank-and-file party members and supporters in 113 of the 300 single-seat constituencies, well above the 62 Ozawa has garnered. One point for ordinary members and supporters is allocated to each of the single-seat constituencies of the House of Representatives. If one of the candidates garners a majority of votes from ordinary members and backers in a constituency, he wins one point.

The survey also shows that more local assembly members support Kan than Ozawa. Kan has already gained the backing of nearly half of some 2,400 local assembly members affiliated with the DPJ, as compared with around 30 percent for Ozawa.

More DPJ members of prefectural and municipal assemblies apparently prefer to see Kan, who is far more popular with the public than Ozawa, continue to lead the party as the April 2011 local elections are drawing near.

In total, Kan is slightly leading Ozawa at the middle stage of the DPJ presidential election.

However, 50 DPJ legislators have not yet decided whom they will vote for, and the results of voting from rank-and-file members and supporters have not become clear in 125 constituencies, more than one-third of the electoral districts.

Since most of the ordinary members and supporters have apparently already cast their ballots prior to the Sept. 11 deadline, both the Kan and Ozawa camps are now competing fiercely to win support from 142 DPJ members who were elected to their first terms in the lower house in last year's general election.

Ozawa has so far won support from 65 of them while Kan has garnered backing from 59. Eighteen of the 50 legislators who have not decided whom they will vote for are first-term lower house members.

(Mainichi Japan) September 8, 2010

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