• Kyodo News

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A nearly 2-to-1 ratio of local assembly members who can vote in the upcoming Democratic Party of Japan leadership election favor Prime Minister Naoto Kan over his rival, Ichiro Ozawa, a survey showed Saturday.

The survey covered 2,382 local assembly members qualified to vote in the Sept. 14 DPJ presidential election and obtained results from 1,430 of them. Of the respondents, 920, or 65 percent, support Kan, and 510, or 35 percent, back Ozawa. The votes of local assembly members will be counted as 100 points.

Another survey indicates Kan has garnered 320 points and Ozawa 340 of 824 total points to be allocated to the DPJ’s 412 Diet members, suggesting a close race. Under the system, two points are allocated per lawmaker. The survey showed 160 DPJ Diet members support Kan, while 170 are for Ozawa.

If the result of the latest survey is applied to the point system for local assembly members, Kan will garner 65 points and Ozawa 35. Combined with his support from Diet members, Kan would have 385 points, slightly exceeding Ozawa’s total of 375.

According to the survey, Ozawa has drawn support mainly in his constituency of Iwate Prefecture, as well as in Toyama, Ishikawa, Kagoshima and Okinawa prefectures. Kan has had an advantage mainly in urban areas.

The outcome of the race, however, remains unclear as some 40 percent of local assembly members and around 20 percent of Diet members have not yet decided who to back.

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