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BBC's Charles Scanlon in Tokyo
"Opposition parties are drawing up a vote of no-confidence"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Obuchi's daughter to run in elections
Keizo Obuchi
Keizo Obuchi took over his father's seat in parliament
The younger daughter of the late Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said on Tuesday she planned to run for her father's parliamentary seat in the general election.

Yuko Obuchi is just 26 years old and fresh out of college, but in Japan she is seen by many as a perfect candidate.

Being the widow or child of a politician in a replacement seat - a common practice - often swings the electorate.

Ms Obuchi would also be following a family tradition. Her father was first elected to parliament after the death of his father for the seat of Gunma, 100km from Tokyo.

Keizo Obuchi was also then 26 years old, making him the youngest member of parliament.


Mourners queue in the rain to pay their respects
Obuchi supporters hope to attract a sympathy vote
He died on May 14 after being in a coma for six weeks following a stroke.

Ms Obuchi said her goal was "to be like my father".

"When his body returned to our house and I saw his face once again, I decided to succeed him," she said.

Ms Obuchi, who formerly worked for a private television station, had been working as her father's private secretary since last year, accompanying him on overseas trips.

At the time he suffered a stroke, she was in Britain studying English in order to help her father host the Group of Eight summit in Japan this July.

Critics

Critics have started to question the effects of "inheritance politics" on the country's democracy.

Many Japanese politicians have inherited seats once held by their fathers.

At least one-third of the candidates who will contest the 500 seats of the Lower House in the next elections will be "hereditary" candidates.

One of Japan's largest newspapers, the Asahi, warned voters not to choose candidates on the basis of their family name.

"We need to decide who to vote for based on who the candidate is, not what family they are from," it said.

Mori polls

Mr Obuchi's legacy will not only be reflected in his daughter's participation in the general election, due to take place on 25 June.

Supporters are also hoping to capitalise on sympathy votes.

The election date has been chosen to coincide with the former prime minister's birthday.


Mr Mori
Mr Mori is known for making gaffes
But correspondents say it is doubtful whether that will outweigh the governing party's current problems.

Opinion polls published in two Japanese newspapers show that public support for the current prime minister, Yoshiro Mori, has plunged since he took office in early April.

The polls, commissioned by two newspapers, indicate that more than 50% of respondents are now unhappy with his leadership.

The polls come a week after Mr Mori was widely criticised for describing the country as a divine nation under the emperor.

Mr Mori became Prime Minister in April after Mr Obuchi's death.

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See also:

16 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Last respects for Obuchi
15 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Tributes to Keizo Obuchi
14 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Obituary: Keizo Obuchi
14 May 00 | Business
Obuchi's economic legacy
09 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japan fixes election date
05 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
New Japanese PM chosen
05 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Yoshiro Mori
04 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japan's workaholic culture
04 Apr 00 | Media reports
Media spotlight on Obuchi's illness
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