Japan Opposition Candidates Vow To Protect Islands

Four lawmakers vying for leadership of Japan's main opposition party have promised to protect Japan's control of islands at the center of a territorial furor with China.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe blasted China at a press conference Wednesday after anti-Japanese riots flared across China. He says that if Beijing can't protect Japanese living in China it "should not enjoy membership in the international society."

The conservative Liberal Democratic Party chooses a leader Sept. 26. The winner may become prime minister if the LDP wins elections that the prime minister has said he will call soon.

Former defense chief Shigeru Ishiba says that "losing a piece of the territory eventually means losing the whole country."

A fifth candidate, Nobutaka Machimura, was hospitalized Tuesday for exhaustion but remains in the race.


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