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Naoto Kan has a slight edge over Ozawa ahead of election

09-14-2010 14:53 BJT

BEIJING, Sept. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Japan's Prime Minister and a powerful challenger have wooed fellow party members ahead of Tuesday's vote, in which the ruling Democratic Party will choose its head.

The ballot could bring the country a new leader, in the face of pressing economic and international concerns.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan appeared to have a slight edge over party kingpin Ichiro Ozawa ahead of the election.

If Ozawa wins, he would become Japan's third Prime Minister in a year.

The two men's policy stances are modestly different, but they have widely different public images.

Kan is far more popular with the general public, and is seen as an upbeat grass-roots reformer, while Ozawa is viewed as an old-school master strategist.

Local Resident, Tokyo, said, "I think Kan is better. I want him to continue on as Prime Minister."

Local Resident, Tokyo, said, "I think Ozawa has more authority. He has greater decision making power."

Both candidates are focused on leading Japan out of its economic slump.

Ozawa favors spending more to stimulate the economy and intervening in currency markets to halt the yen's rise.

Kan is more concerned about fiscal responsibility and has stressed the need to create more jobs.

Recent polls have shown Kan to have more support among Japan's fickle voters.

After voting by rank-and-file party members and local politicians closed on Saturday, attention shifted to the 411 Democratic members of parliament, who have more weight and will cast their votes on Tuesday.

While Kan is stronger among regular party members and local lawmakers, Ozawa has deep support in parliament, where many are beholden to him for helping start their political careers.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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