Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa told other senior party lawmakers Monday he intends to seek re-election in the opposition party’s leadership race in late September, party officials said.

Ozawa’s victory in the Sept. 25 election is seen as almost certain, and he is likely to run unchallenged.

“After considering various options, I would like you to cooperate with me because I want to run” in the election, Ozawa was quoted by the officials as telling acting DPJ President Naoto Kan and Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama in a meeting at party headquarters in Tokyo.

“I welcome (the decision) very much,” Kan was quoted as telling Ozawa. Hatoyama said he would be troubled if Ozawa decided otherwise, telling him, “You have brought our party together,” according to the officials.

Ozawa is expected to formally announce his candidacy at a news conference before official campaigning begins Sept. 12. He is expected to announce his campaign policy at the same time.

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