Japan's opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Vice President Katsuya Okada and Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama on Wednesday voiced their intentions to run in Saturday's election for DPJ's top post following scandal-hit Ichiro Ozawa resigned as DPJ president Monday.
Hatoyama, who is close to Ozawa, is likely to continue to pursue Ozawa's policies while Okada, who is supported by junior and middle-ranking lawmakers, will probably maintain a stance other than that of the outgoing DPJ leader.
At a press conference, Okada reiterated his determination to "become president of the DPJ and the leader of Japan."
According to the latest public opinion poll conducted by Kyodo News, Okada is the most popular candidate for DPJ president, followed by Hatoyama, who declared his candidacy later in the day during a speech at a meeting in Tokyo.
Hatoyama said that there would be nothing more gratifying than devoting himself to dealing with the crisis facing the country.
DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa announced his resignation Monday as a political fund-raising scandal threatened the party's chances to win the general election this year.
Ozawa's top secretary, 47-year-old Takanori Okubo, was indicted on March 24 for receiving 35 million yen (357,000 U.S. dollars) in donations from scandal-tainted Nishimatsu Construction Co. in violation of the political funds control law.