Japan rivaling party leaders go head-to-head ahead of general election

2009-08-13 09:18 BJT

Watch Video

Play Video

Japanese media, packed an auditorium for the first public debate, between incumbent Prime Minister Taro Aso and his challenger, Yukio Hatoyama, ahead of a general election in August. Widespread disaffection with the unpopular prime minister could spell the end of his Liberal Democratic Party's half-century monopoly on power.

Aso, the head of Japan's long-governing Liberal Democratic Party, appealed to voters to continue backing it, because, he said, it has produced tangible results over the past 55 years. He argued that the opposition, while surging in popularity, has not demonstrated it can follow through on its promises.

Taro Aso said, "They cannot achieve economic recovery, because they have no policy for economic growth. It is irresponsible that they promise measures without securing their financial resources. They have no consistent security policy, and we cannot leave Japan's security to such a party."

Yukio Hatoyama is leading in opinion polls in the run-up to the August 30 election, and he is seen by many as likely to become the new prime minister.

He has criticized Japan's mission in the Indian ocean to supply fuel to coalition forces in Afghanistan.

A combination photo shows Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso (L), who is also Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader, and main opposition Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama during their debate session in Tokyo August 12, 2009.REUTERS/Issei Kato(JAPAN POLITICS)
A combination photo shows Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso (L), 
who is also Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader, and 
main opposition Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama during their 
debate session in Tokyo August 12, 2009.REUTERS/Issei Kato(JAPAN POLITICS)