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TOKYO, August 26 (Itar-Tass) — Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has officially announced his resignation. On Friday he informed about it the leadership of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).
The election of a new chairman of the DPJ will be held on August 29.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Seiji Maehara has recently entered the struggle for the post of DPJ chairman and Prime Minister. According to opinion polls, Maehara is the most popular politician among the Democrats, ahead of Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda who was earlier considered a favourite of the election race.
According to the Kyodo news agency, the Democratic Party of Japan’s presidential election to choose the successor to Kan, the current leader of the ruling party, will take place Monday, when only its 398 lawmakers will be eligible to vote. More than four lawmakers, a record number since the party was formed in 1998, including former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, may file for candidacy when campaigning officially begins on Saturday.
After taking office in June last year, the 64-year-old premier has struggled amid low support ratings, a relentless power struggle within the DPJ and the divided Diet, with combative opposition parties controlling the upper house and hampering legislation.
Kan, already Japan’s fifth leader since 2006, said in early June that he would hand over his job to the DPJ’s next generation after a certain level of progress had been made in reconstructing areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant had been contained, according to Kyodo. He later spelled out that the handover would take place if three conditions were fulfilled.