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Facing election, Japan PM ponders graceful defeat

JAPANESE Prime Minister Taro Aso, his long-ruling party at risk of losing power in an election this month, was quoted today as saying that defeat should be accepted gracefully.

Speaking on the campaign trail near Tokyo, the leader quoted a piece of advice once given to his grandfather, Shigeru Yoshida, by Japan's last wartime prime minister.

"One must lose gracefully -- that's what Kantaro Suzuki told Shigeru Yoshida," Aso was quoted by Japanese media as saying in a speech on Tuesday in front of a memorial for Suzuki.

Aso's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is trailing in opinion polls. A loss in the Aug. 30 election would end more than a half-century of nearly unbroken rule by the business-friendly party.

Yoshida, who negotiated the peace treaty ending World War Two, is often referred to in Aso's speeches. According to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Suzuki had advised Yoshida to face defeat like a carp on the chopping board.

"A carp, once it's on the chopping board, doesn't flinch even when the knife touches it," the Asahi quoted from Yoshida's memoir.


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