Long-ruling party faces electoral test

From Times Wire Reports

One of Japan’s most heated elections in years got underway today, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the unusual position of playing underdog amid a surge of support for a conservative opposition group.

No clear successor was waiting in the wings, although Foreign Minister Taro Aso was seen as the most likely to step forward should Abe find his hold on power untenable.