As the odds grow that the No. 1 opposition Democratic Party of Japan will take the reigns of government after the next general elections, the focus in the Japanese political arena is shifting to the lineup of a Cabinet headed by DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, and to who would succeed him if he retired early for health reasons.

Although Prime Minister Taro Aso has apparently decided not to dissolve the Lower House anytime soon, many insiders believe that his repeated verbal lapses and the discord within his Liberal Democratic Party make it extremely difficult for the LDP to maintain a parliamentary majority even if Aso keeps putting off general elections until the current tenure of lawmakers expires next September.

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