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Watanabe poised

The former Japanese foreign minister, Michio Watanabe, said yesterday he will leave the Liberal Democratic Party in an attempt to succeed Morihiro Hosokawa as prime minister, Reuter reports from Tokyo.

Mr Watanabe's remarks came as the governing coalition was nearing a final agreement to name the Foreign Minister, Tsutomu Hata, as successor to Mr Hosokawa, who stepped down over questions about his personal finances.