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Japan after Abe

Abe's silent nod opened floodgates of support for longtime aide

Ishiba and Kishida scramble for backing as their strategies implode

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an extension of the nation's state of emergency on May 4 as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga looked on. Abe has signaled his intention to back his longtime aide to succeed him, boosting Suga's chances in the upcoming leadership race of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the powerful right-hand man to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has quickly emerged as the front-runner in the race to succeed him after Abe gave a silent nod to Suga's candidacy.

Suga, who has supported Abe since he returned to power in 2012, is well-positioned to make the case for his leadership by promising the continuation of current economic policy and measures against the coronavirus.

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