Tokyo, Aug. 16 (Jiji Press) — Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara is taking a lead over his opponent, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, in the leadership race of the main Japanese opposition Democratic Party in terms of support from DP lawmakers.
Maehara has already secured support from about 80 of the 144 DP lawmakers, nearly 60 pct of the total, according to a Jiji Press tally.
Edano will aim to recover from the setback by luring rank-and-file party members and supporters, as well as local assembly members of the party, who together make up more than half of the votes to be cast in the Sept. 1 election.
Votes from the 144 lawmakers only account for about one third of the ballots.
On Wednesday, Maehara attended a joint meeting of two groups of DP lawmakers that were previously led by Goshi Hosono and Akihisa Nagashima, respectively, who both recently left the party.