Support for Suga widening in LDP leadership race
NHK -- Sep 01
In the race to choose the new leader of Japan's main governing Liberal Democratic Party, support for Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide appears to be widening.

The winner of the election will take over from Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, when he resigns to deal with health issues.

Suga is expected to officially announce his candidacy once the schedule for the election is decided. On Monday, he met the head of the party's largest faction and other senior party members to ask for support.

Finance Minister Aso Taro told the senior members of his faction, the second-largest in the party, to ensure that its members support Suga. Another faction led by Secretary-General Nikai Toshihiro confirmed that it will also support Suga.

Some junior lawmakers who don't belong to any particular faction and those who were first elected to parliament in the same year as Suga are also urging him to run.

LDP policy affairs chief and former Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio reiterated his resolve to run at his faction's meeting on Monday. He held talks with several important members of the party, including Prime Minister Abe, to seek support.

Another potential candidate is former Secretary-General of the LDP Ishiba Shigeru. He told his faction members that he cannot let down those who have high hopes for him.

A senior LDP official says that the election will be likely held on September 14 with only lawmakers and selected delegates from prefectural chapters eligible to vote.

This would streamline the procedure and bypass a vote by all party members across the country.

But junior and middle-ranking lawmakers have requested a vote that includes all members, arguing that the new leader should be chosen more openly.

News source: NHK
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