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Fukushiro Nukaga to stand for Japanese PM

Japan's Finance Minister says he will run in the race to become the next prime minister following Shinzo Abe's sudden resignation announcement.

world Updated: Sep 13, 2007 13:12 IST

Japan's Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga said on Thursday he will run in the race to become the next prime minister following Shinzo Abe's sudden resignation announcement.

"I will lead the battle," he said after the meeting with the supporters.

"I received word from many people that we should overcome the current difficulties as a group of like-minded peers," he said.

Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is expected to elect a successor next week to take over a party that is in disarray after a July upper house election drubbing.

Whoever wins that will also become prime minister as the LDP has an overwhelming majority in the more powerful lower house of parliament.

Nukaga, 63, was named finance minister by Abe in August although he was more known as a defence and industry specialist.

A former journalist for the conservative Sankei Shimbun newspaper, he served twice as head of the Defence Agency.

His first duty as defence chief lasted only three months until November 1998, when he stepped down amid a corruption scandal involving his agency's procurement of military hardware.

Nukaga has also served as minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, a post he had to relinquish for receiving a donation from a firm involved in a bribery scandal.

Other potential candidates to replace Abe are believed to include Taro Aso, a former foreign minister who is now the LDP secretary general, Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, former finance minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, and former chief cabinet secretary Yasuo Fukuda.

Aso, 66, who served as foreign minister under both former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi and Abe, is seen as the front-runner to be premier and is expected to announce his candidacy later on Thursday, reports said.