Japan’s Kishida unlikely to run in ruling party leadership race: Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, considered among contenders to be next prime minister, is unlikely to run in a ruling party leadership race in September, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday, citing sources close to him.

FILE PHOTO: Fumio Kishida, Japan’s outgoing Foreign Minister and ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s new policy chief, arrives at prime minister Shinzo Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan, August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Kishida, who is now the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) policy chief, will hold a news conference later in the day, Kyodo reported.

Despite being mired in a series of scandals, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s poll ratings have recovered and he is now seen as having a strong chance of winning a rare third term as head of the LDP in September.

Kishida is considered among candidates to eventually succeed Abe. Other potential successors include ex-defense minister Shigeru Ishiba, Internal Affairs Minister Seiko Noda and Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

The head of the LDP automatically becomes prime minister as the ruling coalition holds a majority in parliament.

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