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Ozawa to Lead Japan Opposition Party

September 12, 2006

TOKYO (AP) _ Maverick politician Ichiro Ozawa was tapped Tuesday to lead Japan’s main opposition party and challenge the ruling party’s front-runner in the race to become prime minister later this month.

Ozawa has led the Democratic Party of Japan since April, when the previous party head, Seiji Maehara, stepped down in a scandal over a fake e-mail. Ozawa is serving the remainder of Maehara’s term, which ends this month, and had to stand for election.

Ozawa was chosen by default as the party’s next president because no one else from within the party registered to challenge him by a mid-afternoon deadline, party official Toshiaki Oikawa said.

The result must still be endorsed in a Sept. 25 party vote.

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