Ex-Foreign Minister Leads Race to Be Japanese PM

Aso seen as best shot at reuniting split party
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2008 4:00 AM CDT
Ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Secretary General Taro Aso speaks during a press conference at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo today.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
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(Newser) – Former foreign minister Taro Aso is on course to become Japan's third prime minister in 12 months, Reuters reports. The onetime Olympic sharpshooter says he's the right candidate to take the helm of the Liberal Democratic Party following yesterday's abrupt resignation of Yasuo Fukuda in the face of a political deadlock.

The Japanese economy is on the brink of recession, and analysts warn that an Aso government is likely to try to spend its way out of crisis. Aso is seen as the candidate most likely to rebuild the LDP's battered support—although voters say they would prefer to pick the government themselves. The LDP may be forced into calling an election if the deadlock continues.