LDP presidential campaign officially a five-horse race

There’s plenty of tough talk on the Liberal Democratic Party’s campaign trail, where five men are vying for the job of running the party and leading the LDP back to power.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in the race, talking tough about why the 5% sales tax should not be doubled if deflation continues in the country.  Candidate Nobuteru Ishihara stepped out in speaking harshly that Japan must protect its territory, referring to the Shinkaku Islands.  The 55-year-old party secretary general is the son of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who’s staunchly pro-Senkaku Islands.

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura questioned the wisdom of building up any infrastructure on the five disputed islands, while ex-Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba says the government “should enhance its effective control over “ the islets.  Abe added Japan needs to “further promote its control” of the territory.

All five LDP candidates say the LDP should  keep pressure on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to dissolve the Lower House and call snap elections as soon as possible.  Ishiba issued a call for the LDP to cooperate to pass a special DPJ – sponsored bill to issue deficit bonds to cover 40% of the 2012 budget, unless Noda continues to ignore calls for the snap elections.