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If cyber politics had called the shots, Health and Welfare Minister Junichiro Koizumi would have been the new president of the Liberal Democratic Party.

In a virtual vote on a Web page managed by Tokyo resident Tadashi Ikeura, Koizumi won 297 of 502 ballots cast by Net surfers, defeating Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama with 185 votes and new LDP President Keizo Obuchi with 20 votes.

“Obuchi lost by a large margin in our election, showing a large disparity between public will and the LDP race,” said Ikeura, a 38-year-old technical translator who started the site out of frustration that the public cannot directly choose the prime minister under the current political system.

A woman in her 20s from Gunma Prefecture who voted for Koizumi said in a comment on the Web, “I want Obuchi to decline (the position). I am from the same prefecture as Obuchi but am ashamed to see his win. Our efforts to go to the polls (in the Upper House election) haven’t made any impact on this.”

A man in his 40s voted for Obuchi, saying that Koizumi is too emotional to become leader of a nation and that Kajiyama does not seem to be the economic expert claimed by the media. “Though Obuchi’s appearance is not very appealing, what he says is clear and easy to understand.” he said.

In a separate mock ballot for the nation’s ideal prime minister, also managed by Ikeura on the Web, Democratic Party of Japan leader Naoto Kan took the lead with 273 votes as of 3:30 p.m Friday, followed by Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa with 268 votes. LDP lawmaker Makiko Tanaka, daughter of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and popular for her outspokenness, held third place with 267 votes.

Obuchi ranked 12th with 14 votes. “Even (departing Prime Minister) Ryutaro Hashimoto won 31 votes,” Ikeura said. The cyber race will continue until July 30 at http://www.eva.hi-ho.ne.jp/t-ikeura/

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