Japan’s ruling Liberal Democrats have, as expected, picked the front-runner to be their new Prime Minister. 64-year old Taro Aso will be the man in the hot seat, which may get hotter as Japan flirts with recession and awaits any fallout from the Wall Street financial crisis.
As foreign minister he was popular with voters and won an overwhelming majority of LDP votes, more than five times the number of his nearest challenger. The first woman to try for the post trailed in third.
Aso is now considering a snap election. “I am determined to win the upcoming election, to revive our country, push on with reform, and launch new ideas,” he said.
Aso is a snappy dresser and a fan of Japan’s cultish manga cartoon books. He is also somewhat hawkish and outspoken, in contrast to the often taciturn and low-key nature of Japanese politicians.