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The race for the leadership of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan has officially started. Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces the party's former secretary-general Ichiro Ozawa in a contest that will decide Japan's next prime minister.
Both Kan and Ozawa filed their official candidacies at the party headquarters for the September 14th election. Opinion polls place Kan ahead of Ozawa, who has been backed by former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. The leadership election will be decided by party supporters eligible to vote and more than 400 DPJ lawmakers and local assembly members.