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Japan after Abe

Former Japan PM candidate cedes spotlight after crushing loss

Ishiba resigns as faction leader in last-ditch effort to protect allies

Some of Shigeru Ishiba's allies saw his decision as an act of self-sacrifice, though there is concern that it could destabilize the faction. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

TOKYO -- Once a stone's throw away from Japan's premiership, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba on Thursday announced an unceremonious exit from center stage. 

Ishiba will step down as the leader of his namesake faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, following a devastating loss in last month's vote to replace former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the party's leader.

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