Expectations Maehara would join the leadership battle increased over the weekend after he said following a Saturday meeting that he could not give his faction’s support to Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the current favorite to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the DPJ helm.
Maehara, who was forced to resign his Cabinet position in disgrace after accepting donations from a foreigner, remained non-committal about entering the vote to take over from Kan, who is expected to stand down within the end of this month, saying only, “There are more important things at the moment than my personal opinion.”
A high-ranking member of the DPJ who belongs to Maehara’s faction, however, said it was imperative the former Foreign Minister declared his candidacy.
“Noda cannot win this vote. Maehara should run for Japan’s sake,” the DPJ member said on condition of anonymity.