After nearly eight years in power, Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato is reported to be on the brink f retirement.
After nearly eight years in power, Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato is reported to be on the brink f retirement. His long political career reached its climax last month with the return of Okinawa to Japan after 27 years of American occupation.
Now, at the age of 71, Mr Sato is widely expected to honourably retire from the political stage. In the background, several candidates who are seeking to take over as leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party have been campaigning to strengthen their chances of election.
The two strongest candidates are Foreign Minister Takeo Fukuda, aged 67, and the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Kakuei Tanaka (54). Both are pillars of the Sato administration.
Fuller biographies of the chief contenders for Mr Sato's leadership will follow at a later date. In the meantime, this brief compilation includes recent film of the veteran leader, and of Minister Fukuda and Tanaka.
SYNOPSIS: In Japan, veteran Prime Minister Eisaku Sato us reported to be on the brink of retirement. Mr Sato, here playing host to President Suharto of Indonesia, has been in power for eight years. Now seventy-one, he achieved his greatest political triumph earlier this year when he finalised the return of Okinawa to Japan -- after twenty-seven years of American occupation. By retiring now, Mr Sato would give his successor a few months to prove himself before facing a general election.
Several candidates have emerged for the leadership. One of the two chief contenders is the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mr Kakuei Tanaka, seen here during trade negotiations with the Americans last year. Mr Tanaka, a peasant by birth, is a self-made man. He demonstrated his popularity at a recent meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, when he won the support of over eighty of the party's parliamentarians.
Japanese Foreign Minister Takeo Fukuda, here with his Soviet opposite number Mr. Gromyko, is the their main contender for the leadership. There have been hints that Mr. Fukuda, a cautious financial expert, is Mr. Sato's own choice as his successor because of an apparently similar approach to policy. Whoever does take over, one of his major tasks will be to try and negotiate the return of Soviet-occupied northern islands.