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Japan election

Japan's ruling LDP leadership race opens with four candidates

11th-hour bid by Noda upends vote-counting math, making runoff more likely

LDP candidates in the leadership race, left to right: Taro Kono, Fumio Kishida, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda. 

TOKYO -- The campaign to lead Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party officially began Friday with four candidates -- two men and two women.

Standing are former foreign minister and LDP policy research chief Fumio Kishida; administrative reform minister Taro Kono, who also has held the foreign and defense chief posts; Sanae Takaichi, who has served as communications minister; and Seiko Noda, a former minister for internal affairs and communications.

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