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Ishihara declares bid for leadership of LDP

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara announced Tuesday that he will run in the Sept. 26 presidential election of the main opposition party.

"Let me stand at the forefront of efforts to protect our nation and homeland," Ishihara, 55, said at a news conference.

Ishihara, son of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, said he will make his best effort to implement an agreement between the LDP, New Komeito and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan on social security and tax system reform including a consumption tax hike.

Ishihara is the third LDP member to officially declare his candidacy. He followed former Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce his candidacy on Wednesday. Yoshimasa Hayashi, acting chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, is trying to secure 20 supporters, the minimum required to run in the party leadership election.

Ishihara's news conference followed a plenary meeting of an LDP faction led by former LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki, of which Ishihara is a member.

At the meeting, Yamasaki proposed his faction field Ishihara as its presidential candidate. The proposal was approved.

Ishihara plans to secure support from a wide range of LDP members including such bigwigs as former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and former LDP Secretary General Makoto Koga.

Incumbent President Sadakazu Tanigaki decided not to bid for reelection to prevent a divide in the current party executive team.

Some LDP lawmakers have criticized Ishihara for sticking to his bid in recent discussions aimed at preventing two candidates from the current party leadership from running.

At a party executive meeting, Tanigaki said he decided not to run because he thought it inadvisable for the leadership to be divided. Tax System Research Commission Chairman Takeshi Noda said Tanigaki should be credited for forcing the DPJ into a corner.

(Sep. 12, 2012)
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