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Race is on to succeed Naoto Kan as Japanese Prime Minister

Reuters and the AP report:

The race to pick Japan's sixth leader in five years was wide open on Friday. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who came under fire for his response to the massive March tsunami and the radiation crisis it triggered, confirmed his intention to step down at a gathering of ruling Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers, clearing the way for the party to pick a new leader on Monday.

Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara is viewed as the front-runner to replace Kan. Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Trade Minister Banri Kaieda are also viewed as contenders. Read the full story.

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