Kono Plans to Run in LDP Race; Ishiba Signals Eagerness

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 3 (Jiji Press)--The picture of the upcoming leadership election for Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party is changing rapidly after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga abruptly announced Friday that he will not seek re-election.

The same day, regulatory reform minister Taro Kono informed party lawmakers of his intention to declare his candidacy for the LDP presidential election, while former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba suggested that he is eager to run in the election, saying the race situation is in "a totally different phase."

Before Suga's effective decision to step down, the Sept. 29 LDP election was seen centering on a battle between Suga, 72, and former party policy chief and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, 64.

At a meeting of party executives on Friday morning, Suga said he will not run in the LDP election, signaling his intention to step down as prime minister. His term of office as LDP president ends on Sept. 30.

Whoever wins the LDP election is all but assured of the post of prime minister because of the party's majority in the House of Representatives, the all-important chamber of parliament.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press