Same Party, New Face: Aso Likely to Step in as Japanese PM

Political 'blueblood' faces scandals, debt
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2007 3:32 AM CDT
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, listens to Foreign Minister Taro Aso after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party leaders' meeting at the party headquarters in Tokyo Monday morning, Aug. 27, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Fellow party member  and Foreign Minister Taro Aso is emerging as the favored successor of resigned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. If elected, Aso would face an economy saddled with the world's largest public debt, the stagnation of his own Liberal Democratic Party and the enmity of the main opposition party.

The LDP has ruled Japan almost uninterrupted since 1955 but has lost support in a series of stunning scandals, including the unaccountable loss of millions from state pension funds. Critics say that an Aso tenure is unlikely to change much: "It's just old faces inside a revolving door. Aso's very much a party blueblood," remarked one observer.