(Old news, I know.) From the BBC:
Japan’s former foreign minister Taro Aso has formally announced his bid to succeed Yasuo Fukuda as prime minister.
Mr Fukuda announced his resignation on Monday, blaming obstruction from the opposition, which controls the upper house of parliament.
Mr Aso, a staunch conservative, is seen as the front-runner for the job.
He remains popular with the electorate, even as the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) sees its polling numbers dwindle.
Just in case you need a reminder of who Taro Aso is (from Wikipedia):
Aso is a fan of manga since childhood. He had his family send manga magazines from Japan while he was studying at Stanford University. In 2003, he described reading about 10 or 20 manga magazines every week (it not only manga, but also the amount of reading is large in his case) and talked about his impression of various manga that was not an improvisation. When he was the Minister for Foreign Affairs, he established the International Manga Award for non-Japanese manga artists in 2007.
As a result of this background, he has acquired popularity with anime and manga fans. He is nicknamed “Rozen Aso” by them, originating the fact that he had been witnessed reading the manga “Rozen Maiden” in Tokyo International Airport. It was not clear when the sighting information had flowed to the internet in 2006, but he admitted in an interview that he had read the manga (but he said he did not remember whether read it in the airport), and described his impressions of the manga.
Mike says: Well, remember last year when it looked like he had a shot at the PM then? Looks like he gets another chance. Less attractive about him, though–he is definitely seen as a right-leaning, nationalist candidate, remember:
But his expected election has raised concerns that Japan’s recent rapprochement with China may be reversed.
Mr Aso has in the past visited the shrine at Yasukuni, where a number of Japanese war criminals are buried, and is known for his right-wing views.
Two years ago he attracted criticism for praising Japan as “one country, one civilisation, one language, one culture and one race”.
Identity politics is always dangerous–one shouldn’t vote for a person simply because he or she shares your hobbies or you feel like you can “relate” to that person. I see this all the time in American politics, in both parties, especially this election year; I’d like to believe that the electorate in democratic countries can see past them to also consider the issues and–
–who am I kidding? These are politicians. [cynical grumbling]