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A leadership election was held in the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan on 23 September 2007 after the incumbent party leader and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe announced that he would resign on 12 September 2007.[1] Abe had only been elected to the post slightly less than a year earlier; his resignation came only three days after a new parliamentary session had begun. Abe said his unpopularity was hindering the passage of an anti-terrorism law, involving among other things Japan's continued military presence in Afghanistan. Party officials also said the embattled Prime Minister was suffering from poor health.[2][3]

Fukuda defeated Asō in the election, receiving 330 votes against 197 votes for Asō.[4][5]

Since the LDP has an absolute majority in the lower house, Fukuda became Prime Minister on 25 September 2007.[5]


Endorsement by at least twenty LDP lawmakers is necessary to become a candidate in the election.[1] Since there are 387 LDP Diet members and 141 prefectural LDP representatives (three for each of the 47 prefectural chapters), there is a total of 528 votes.[6] The following people were candidates in the election:

People who were considered likely candidates, but refused to seek the nomination, were:

Aso conceded on 16 September 2007 that he was unlikely to win the race and stated he was primarily continuing as a candidate to give party members a choice.[17] Fukuda had by that date gathered the official support of eight factions of the LDP, all except Aso's own faction; he furthermore stated he would not visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine,[18] and proposed the construction of a secular national memorial facility instead. Aso stated that there could be no replacement for the shrine, but did not state whether he would visit the shrine if elected.[19] Fukuda struck a more conciliatory tone in relation to the North Korean abduction issue, while Aso positioned himself as a hardliner.[20]

According to media surveys, Fukuda had 213 of the lawmakers on his side, while Aso had the assured support of 45 Diet members.[21] Observers agreed that Fukuda was almost certain to win due to the widespread support across faction borders he had obtained.[22]

Fukuda received 330 votes in the election, held on 23 September, defeating Asō, who received 197 votes.[4][5] The support from Diet members alone was enough for Fukuda to win the leadership in the first round.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d "Japan's ruling party decides date to pick Abe's successor", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), September 13, 2007.
  2. ^ "Hospital said Abe "extremely weak"", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), September 13, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Abe in hospital after resignation", Al Jazeera, September 13, 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Fukuda Chosen to Replace Abe as Japan's Prime Minister", VOA News, September 23, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c "Fukuda wins LDP race / Will follow in footsteps of father as prime minister", The Daily Yomiuri, September 23, 2007.
  6. ^ "Japanese senior politician Fukuda enjoys lead in ruling party presidential rivalry", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), September 14, 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Rivals confirmed in Japan PM race", BBC News, September 15, 2007.
  8. ^ a b "Japanese PM admitted to hospital", BBC News, September 13, 2007.
  9. ^ "Prime Minister of Japan to Step Down", The New York Times, September 12, 2007.
  10. ^ Takashi Hirokawa, "Fukuda Joins Aso in Race to Become Japan's Next Prime Minister",, September 15, 2007.
  11. ^ "Koizumi 'to support Fukuda'", Yomiuri Shimbun, September 14, 2007.
  12. ^ a b c "Possible contenders", The Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2007.
  13. ^ "Japan's finance minister to run for PM", Forbes, September 13, 2007.
  14. ^ Keiichi Yamamura and Sachiko Sakamaki, "Aso, Nukaga to Run for Japan Prime Minister's Post",, September 13, 2007.
  15. ^ "Japan's finance chief not to run for ruling party president", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), September 14, 2007.
  16. ^ "LDP presidential race will be head-on clash between Fukuda, Aso", Mainichi Daily News, September 14, 2007.
  17. ^ "New favourite in Japan's PM race", BBC News, 16 September 2007.
  18. ^ "Fukuda pledges not to visit Yasukuni shrine if elected new PM", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), September 16, 2007.
  19. ^ "Japan's ruling party presidential candidates introduce similar policy platforms", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), September 16, 2007.
  20. ^ "Both candidates to become Japan's prime minister start campaigns", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), September 17, 2007.
  21. ^ "Japan's ruling party election to affect domestic, foreign policy", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), September 20, 2007.
  22. ^ Hisane Masaki, "Fukuda heads Japan's leadership race", Asia Times Online, September 15, 2007.
  23. ^ "Fukuda wins wide support, upper hand in premiership race with Aso", Kyodo News, September 14, 2007.


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