Japan: Race to pick Suga's successor begins

Japan: Race to pick Sugas successor begins

Tokyo: The race is on for the next Japanese prime minister. Official election campaigning kicked off Friday for the new head of Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a role that typically signals the next national leader.

Four candidates are competing in the Sept. 29 vote to replace outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who will quit when his term ends at the end of this month after serving only one year. He took over for predecessor Shinzo Abe.

Unusually for Japan, two women are competing in the race. The only other female challenger was in 2008, when Yuriko Koike, who is currently serving as Tokyo governor, made a run.

Earlier Friday, the four each submitted their official candidacy at party headquarters ahead of a series of joint public debate sessions and other campaigning planned over the next 12 days. Their policies focus on the pandemic and its economic fallout, and the increasingly aggressive role China has played in regional affairs.

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