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Japan’s Catholic Leader

BY Tom McFeely

| Posted 9/23/08 at 9:02 AM

 

Taro Aso, 68, was elected Monday as the new leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Tomorrow, Aso is expected to be confirmed as Japan’s first Catholic prime minister by Japan’s lower house of parliament, which is controlled by his party.

Aso is known as a politician with personality, Associated Press noted: He is an Olympic sharpshooter in a country with strong gun laws who also has earned a reputation as a political straight-shooter.

Aso will become the third Japanese prime minister since 2006, succeeding Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda who both resigned because of low poll numbers and constant battles with the opposition-controlled upper house of Japan’s parliament.

Catholics comprise a tiny minority of less than 0.5% of Japan’s population of 127 million people.

— Tom McFeely