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Foreign Minister Sousuke Uno was summoned home from a conference in Paris Wednesday and will succeed Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita amid the country's worst political scandal, officials said.

Uno is expected to be officially installed as president of the Liberal Democratic Party, which carries with it the premiership, at a party caucus on Friday, the officials said. He will be Japan's 18th postwar prime minister.The 66-year-old foreign minister was summoned to Tokyo Wednesday from Paris, where he was attending an international economic meeting, Liberal Democratic Party officials said.

Uno will inherit the reigns of power at one of the lowest points in Japan's postwar political history.

For nine months the nation's top politicians have been sinking into a quagmire of charges alleging that they took bribes from the Recruit Co., a communications conglomerate.

"It is an extremely critical time for the Liberal Democratic Party, but I'm willing to give myself to the party," Uno said in Paris.

Takeshita was forced to resign to take responsibility for the scandal after his popularity dropped to less than 4 percent.

The party has been searching for Takeshita's successor since his resignation announcement April 25. The four top party leaders, including Ta-keshita, approved of Uno's selection at a meeting at party headquarters.