Aiming for Top Post, Kono Seeking to Solidify Support Base

Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 26 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono has stepped into the limelight since he initiated a government decision in June to cancel the deployment of the Aegis Ashore land-based missile shield.

Kono, 57, has been received favorably by the public due to his ability to make decisions quickly and his candid remarks. He is ranked high in some opinion polls as a candidate to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

He himself does not hide his willingness to run in the next leadership election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, but has not won the endorsement of the leader of the party faction he belongs to, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso.

For a stab at the top post, his foremost challenge will be to solidify his support base within the LDP.

"I've been aiming to become prime minister since I was first elected" to the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, in 1996, Kono says.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press