Japanese PM faces party contest

A SENIOR ruling party MP yesterday announced he would challenge Japan's prime minister for the top job in an internal party election next month.

The move raises the possibility of another change of leader in Japan, which has seen five prime ministers in three years. Prime minister Naoto Kan took power in June after Yukio Hatoyama resigned nine months into the job. Now veteran powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa, a critic of Mr Kan's, says he will run against him for the Democratic Party presidency in its 14 September election.

Mr Ozawa, 68, is unpopular but is one of the most powerful figures in Japanese politics. He is renowned as a backroom dealer instrumental in the Democrats' lower house victory last year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His decision comes a day after he called Americans "simple-minded". "I like Americans, but they are somewhat monocellular," he said. "When I talk with Americans, I often wonder why they are so simple-minded."