• Kyodo

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Finally confirming what has been widely expected for months, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe stated publicly Saturday that he will run in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election in September.

“I will do my best with a firm ambition,” Abe said in a speech to a gathering sponsored by supporters in his home district in Shimonoseki.

“Samurai should have ambition,” Abe said, referring to remarks by Edo Period scholar Yoshida Shoin (1830-1859), whom he admires.

Yoshida, a local hero in Yamaguchi, was imprisoned after he defied the national seclusion edicts and attempted to stow away on Commodore Matthew Perry’s flagship while it was anchored off Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula.

“I want to create a society where you can find opportunity no matter how many times you fail,” Abe said, echoing his “Second Chance” theme.

He is to formally announce his candidacy for the Sept. 20 LDP presidential election on Sept. 1, when he will outline his policy agenda.

“Up until the end of August, I have many (government) tasks, such as those related to overseas trips by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi or budget requests for the next fiscal year,” Abe said of why he will wait until Sept. 1.

Besides Abe, Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki and Foreign Minister Taro Aso are expected to run in the election to replace Koizumi.

Tanigaki unveiled his intention to run last month, while Aso is expected to announce his candidacy Monday.

Abe has visited Osaka, Iwate and Kyoto prefectures since late July for public discussion with citizens to get his policy goals across to the public. He is expected to step up his stumping tours after the current holiday season ends.

On Aug. 22, he will face off with other prospective candidates in an LDP regional meeting in Yokohama.

Abe published a book in July outlining his policy goals, which include revising the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.

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