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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fukuda Chosen to Be Japan's Premier

TOKYO -- Japan's ruling party on Sunday picked Yasuo Fukuda, an advocate of warmer ties with Asian neighbors, to be the next prime minister, but the 71-year-old lawmaker faces a likely policy deadlock in a divided parliament.

The Liberal Democratic Party rallied behind Fukuda, who is seen as a competent moderate, hoping he can bring stability and stave off calls for an early election after a year of scandal and missteps that ended with the sudden resignation of Shinzo Abe.

The bespectacled Fukuda, almost overcome with emotion, bowed to applause from LDP lawmakers and officials when the result of the vote was announced at the party's Tokyo headquarters.

"I'm not highly educated or talented, and I don't have much experience," said Fukuda, the son of a former prime minister.

"But despite that, you have chosen me as party president. I am moved," he said.

Fukuda won a solid 330 of the 527 valid votes cast against 197 for outspoken rival Taro Aso, a hawkish former foreign minister.

The new party leader will be chosen prime minister Tuesday by virtue of the ruling camp's huge majority in the parliament's lower house, but he will face a feisty opposition that won control of the upper house in a July election and can now delay legislation.

"The LDP must resolve to be reborn and obtain the people's trust," Fukuda told a news conference, adding that he wanted to hold policy talks with opposition leaders.

He also faces conflicting pressures to spend more to woo disaffected voters while reining in Japan's mammoth public debt.