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Veteran lawmaker Asao to run in Your Party leadership race

Kyodo

A veteran lawmaker of Your Party said Wednesday he will run in the upcoming party leadership election after its chief resigned over a money scandal.

“We must protect the party,” Keiichiro Asao, the party’s secretary-general, said at a press conference announcing his candidacy in the election to be held Friday.

Asao, a 50-year-old Lower House member, vowed to restore public trust in the opposition party and “pursue reforms,” saying his “party’s policies have the support of many people.”

Yoshimi Watanabe gave up his post as party leader due to a scandal over unreported loans totaling ¥800 million from a corporate executive. He has since denied the money was used as election or political funds.

Asao is one of the founding members of Your Party together with Watanabe. He was formerly a member of the Democratic Party of Japan.

Another party lawmaker, Shigefumi Matsuzawa, is considering throwing his hat into the ring as he carries the support of some of the party’s younger members.