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Edano officially throws hat into DP leadership race

JIJI

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano announced Saturday that he will run in the election to succeed Renho, who has offered to resign as president of the Democratic Party.

“I’ve come to a conclusion that it’s the most appropriate way for me to become the leader of the party to put what I want to do into action,” Edano, 53, said in a speech in the city of Saitama.

Edano will likely be among the major candidates in the DP leadership race, together with former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, 55, who also appears to be preparing a run, informed sources said.

In the speech, Edano expressed his resolve to make all-out efforts to rebuild the main opposition party, which has been losing public support.

Edano, a lawyer, entered the Diet for the first time in the 1993 House of Representatives election on the ticket of the now-defunct Japan New Party. He has been returned to the Lower House seven times.

He was chief Cabinet secretary from January to September 2011, and minister of economy, trade and industry from September 2011 to December 2012 while the new Democratic Party of Japan, one of the DP’s two predecessors, was in power between 2009 and 2012. Edano is mainly supported by liberal members of the DP.

Edano is positive about cooperating with other opposition parties.

“I’m ready to make concessions where possible to those who support us, in areas other than our key policies,” he said.

As Maehara is cautious about the DP joining forces with the Japanese Communist Party, how it should seek cooperation within the opposition camp will likely be one of key issues in the DP leadership election, critics said.

Renho on Thursday announced her intention to resign as DP president to take responsibility for its poor performance in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election on July 2. The DP won only five of the 127 seats in the assembly.