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Race to succeed Japan PM Suga heats up as more jump in

Kishida and Kono throw hats in ring, while Ishiba weighs run

Declared and potential contenders to lead Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party include, from left, Fumio Kishida, Taro Kono, Shigeru Ishiba and Sanae Takaichi. (Source photos by Wataru Ito, Yumi Kotani and Uichiro Kasai)

TOKYO -- Japanese administrative reform minister Taro Kono will run to become the next leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party following Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's decision Friday not to seek reelection in the Sept. 29 vote.

The LDP race will essentially decide who will serve as the party's face in the lower-house election also slated for sometime this fall. Originally expected to shape up into a one-on-one battle between Suga and former party policy chief Fumio Kishida, the race will now feature many key figures who have expressed interest in joining the contest in light of Suga's announcement.

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