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Japan after Abe

Japan PM front-runner Suga vows to not back down from China

Chief cabinet secretary stresses alliance with US in debate with other candidates

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks at a debate at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo. (Photo by Yo Inoue)

TOKYO -- Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga promised on Saturday to stand his ground with Beijing, saying he will not be afraid to express Japan's claims to China should he become prime minister.

"If there are assertions that should be made, I will make those assertions at high-level talks," the front-runner said about Japan-Sino relations during a debate with his two rivals, Fumio Kishida and Shigeru Ishiba, in the race for the top leadership spot.

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