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Inside Japanese politics

Time is tight for Kono and his goal to shift political landscape

COVID vaccinations test maverick lawmaker's leadership as he vies for PM post

Taro Kono, left, has a shot to replace current Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, but his lack of a power base and maverick policies could get in his way. (Source photos by Rie Ishii and AFP/Jiji) 

TOKYO -- Despite belonging to the most mainstream political party in Japan and coming from a family of politicians, Taro Kono has long been viewed as a lone wolf in Japanese politics. His aloofness has always been why no one would have ever taken his prime ministerial ambitions seriously till a few years ago.

"It's important to focus on the work I have to do first," said Kono, choosing his words carefully in a news program last month when asked whether he would support Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the upcoming presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

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