Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 12:25 UK

Japan's LDP chooses a new leader

By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Tokyo

Former Japanese finance minister Sadakazu Tanigaki smiles after he was elected the new leader of the LDP
The choice of Mr Tanigaki is being seen an attempt to reunite the party

Japan's Liberal Democratic Party has elected a new leader after its crushing electoral defeat last month.

Sadakazu Tanigaki, a 64-year-old who has held a number of cabinet posts, replaces former Prime Minister Taro Aso, who stepped down as party leader.

He now faces the task of rebuilding the LDP, which is in opposition for only the second time in more than 50 years.

He will have an early test next year when elections are due for the less powerful upper house of Parliament.

Mr Tanigaki is a former finance minister known as a consensus builder, and his election is being seen as an attempt to maintain party unity.

His two rivals for the post, both in their 40s, had campaigned for a generational change.

New Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, of the Democratic Party of Japan, has said he will steer the country away from unrestrained capitalism towards what he has described as a more fraternal society.

Among his pledges are cash allowances for families with children and a reduction in the power of bureaucrats.

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