Tokyo: Japan Prime Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday that he will resign as president of the Liberal Democratic Party on the morning of September 16 before the House of Representatives elects the next prime minister in a special Diet session, LDP officials said.
Aso`s resignation, which will come half a month ahead of the end of his term on September 30, is aimed at making it easier for LDP lawmakers in the lower house to decide who to vote for when choosing the next prime minister.
"Not only will my Cabinet resign en masse but I will also resign as (LDP) president," Aso told party executives at a meeting, the officials said.
"I want you to act in unity in the election to name the prime minister."
Yukio Hatoyama, president of the Democratic Party of Japan, which ousted the LDP-led coalition from power by capturing nearly two-thirds of the 480 seats in the chamber in the election, is set to be elected new prime minister at the special Diet session.
Because the LDP presidency will be vacant, party members in the lower house will be casting votes for someone other than Aso in picking the new prime minister.
"I think the prime minister wanted to wipe away the idea that ballots should be cast for him because he is prime minister," Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a
news conference. "He made it clear that (LDP members) should not write `Taro Aso` on their ballots."