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Japan oppostion gives ex-PM Abe 2nd chance

Published on Sep 26, 2012 3:05 PM
Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) lawmaker and former prime minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech after he was chosen as the party president at the party presidential election at the party headquarters in Tokyo on Sept 26, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's main opposition party picked former prime minister and security hawk Mr Shinzo Abe as its new leader, giving him another shot at premiership and possibly alarming Beijing and Seoul locked in territorial disputes with Tokyo.

Opinion polls suggest that the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), ousted in 2009 after more than 50 years of almost non-stop rule, will come first in a lower house election expected within months. That would put its leader in position to become the next prime minister.

Mr Abe, who abruptly quit after just a year on office due to ill health in 2007, won a run-off ballot against Mr Shigeru Ishiba, 55, a conservative security expert.

All contenders in the race to lead the LDP have struck hawkish tones as a row with China flared this month after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's government bought some disputed islets in the East China Sea from their private Japanese owner.

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