Aso’s win greeted in low-key fashion

by Natsuko Fukue

When Taro Aso was elected president of the Liberal Democratic Party on Monday, he got a low-key welcome from his supporters outside LDP headquarters in the Nagata-cho political quarter of Tokyo.

About 65 of his supporters gathered in front of the building during the voting and followed the proceedings on the popular 2channel Web site.

Last year, more than 200 supporters gathered to cheer on Aso’s attempt to run for president, when he lost out to Yasuo Fukuda.

Aso is considered a popular politician among young people, partly because he is a self-confessed fan of “manga” comic books.

A housewife from Wakayama Prefecture who only gave her family name, Maeda, said she flew to Tokyo to show her support for Aso.

“He should become Japan’s leader,” she said. “I think he’s a hope for the country.”

She added that she likes Aso’s tough stance toward China and South Korea.

Honda, a 28-year-old office worker who also refused to reveal his given name, said: “I was really disappointed by Fukuda on the Tibet issue. He ignored human rights. I think Aso will take a humanitarian policy (on Tibet). A politician who is good in diplomacy should be good in domestic affairs.”

He was holding a placard with a drawing of Aso’s face and the quote: “I’ll be the LDP president.”

In the Akihabara district in Tokyo, a center for manga fans, there were not many customers at a shop selling Aso-related goods and sweets, which was temporarily opened Monday by Daito Co.

“There are more journalists at the shop than customers today,” said Daito President Toshio Okubo.