Official campaigning for the Democratic Party of Japan presidential race kicked off Wednesday, with three hopefuls throwing their hats into the ring and pledging to rebuild the party and regain public trust.

DPJ deputy leader Katsuya Okada, 61, Goshi Hosono, 43, a former minister in charge of dealing with the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and Akira Nagatsuma, 54, a former welfare minister, submitted bids for the leadership and will compete in the party's Jan. 18 election.

The winner will succeed Banri Kaieda, who resigned as leader after losing his seat in the snap Lower House election on Dec. 14.