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Ishiba accepts offer to become LDP No. 2 man

(Xinhua)

09:57, September 28, 2012

TOKYO, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Shigeru Ishiba, Japan's former defense minister, accepted Thursday an offer to become secretary general of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a day after he was defeated in the party's presidential race.

"To make a team that can win the next lower house election, I would like to consult about the leadership lineup" with the LDP's newly elected leader Shinzo Abe, Ishiba told reporters.

In the LDP leadership election on Wednesday, Ishiba led the four other candidates in the first round of voting but lost narrowly in the runoff to ex-prime minister Abe.

"I will do what I can do to make LDP President Abe prime minister," Ishiba said. "My job is to tell the LDP president the voices of local people and have them reflected" in the party's policies.

The secretary general, considered the second-highest post in the party, traditionally has a strong influence in formulating strategies of the election campaign. The decision to put Ishiba in the position reflects Abe's aim to garner support from rank-and- file LDP members as Ishiba is more popular among them.

Abe plans to finish naming other top executives under his leadership by Friday.

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