Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s leadership of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan came under threat after Ichiro Ozawa, a controversial but influential party member, announced he would challenge Kan in the party’s election, slated for Sept. 14. If Ozawa succeeds in his bid to unseat Kan, he will be Japan’s third prime minister within a year. FT notes that Ozawa’s announcement brings to the open a deep split believed to have been plaguing DJP since it came to power in September 2009.
Japan is suffering from various economic woes that have prompted calls for government intervention. Export is growing sluggishly, for instance, because of the strengthening yen and a decreasing workforce due to the country’s aging population, The New York Times says. These problems expose new weak spots within the Japanese economy, which was overtaken last month by China as the world’s second largest economy after the U.S.