Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) started its official campaigning of the presidential election Wednesday to choose a new party leader to succeed Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
Five LDP lawmakers filed their candidacies in the morning at the LDP headquarters for the election slated for Sept. 22.
Among them, LDP Secretary General and former Foreign Minister Taro Aso was widely regarded as the front-runner in the upcoming race. The popular politician known for his interest in cartoons boasted 40 percent of support rate within the ruling party, a latest survey showed.
The other four candidates are former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano, and former LDP policy chief NobuteruIshihara.
The winner of the election will undoubtedly replace Fukuda as prime minister at the extraordinary Diet session on Sept. 24 since the ruling coalition controls the majority in the more powerful Lower House of the Diet
Fukuda abruptly announced his resignation Sept. 1 after about one year in post.