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Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007

Aso wants to be next LDP chief: Tanigaki

Staff writer

Taro Aso lost to Shinzo Abe in last September's Liberal Democratic Party presidential election, but the outspoken foreign minister still secretly hopes to prevail next time.

News photo

Aso's ambition was recently divulged to the public by former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, another candidate in last year's LDP race. Aso lashed out Tuesday against Tanigaki for speaking out about what was supposed to be a confidential conversation between the two.

According to Tanigaki, who delivered a lecture Monday in Kyoto, Aso recently approached him and proposed the two form a political alliance in a bid to take turns holding the LDP's top post and hence the prime ministership.

But Aso attached one condition: He should become prime minister first, Tanigaki reportedly told the audience in Kyoto.

Asked if he had a conversation to that effect, Aso told reporters Tuesday he "has already forgotten about it" but admitted he made the proposal to Tanigaki.

"I haven't gotten an answer (from Tanigaki) yet. If he really spoke about that topic at a different occasion without giving me an answer, I would question his manners," Aso said at his regularly scheduled news conference.

Aso and Tanigaki head LDP factions and are considered prospective candidates for the next party presidential race.

They both ran in September with Aso finishing second and Tanigaki third.

The LDP president is effectively assured the prime ministership due to the party's power in the Diet.

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The Japan Times

Article 3 of 13 in National news

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