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Abe seeks to cement legacy but hurdles await in his final term

Japanese leader's grip hinges on next year's upper house election

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces a fight to stay relevant as his Liberal Democratic Party starts to consider succession. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

TOKYO -- As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begins his third term as Liberal Democratic Party chief, he faces plenty of political, economic and diplomatic challenges -- not least of which being how to maintain the authority to tackle these issues.

Abe is now set to leave office no later than September 2021, barring another change to the party's charter. With an end date for his tenure now set, he will need to fight the perception that his administration is growing irrelevant as attention increasingly shifts to the issue of succession.

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