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Suga's LDP rivals struggle to make ground in Japan election year

PM giving preferential treatment to Kono, Koizumi to maintain grip on party

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has given key posts to Taro Kono, second from right, and Shinjiro Koizumi, far right. Potential rivals for the ruling party leadership Fumio Kishida, far left, and Shigeru Ishiba are struggling to build a challenge. (Source photos by Rie Ishii, Kento Awashima, Yumi Kotani, Uichiro Kasai and Reuters) 

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to face two electoral tests this year -- a vote for the presidency of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party in late September and a general election that has to be held by October 22.

While public support for Suga remains low over the government's sluggish response to the pandemic, rivals in the LDP are struggling to emerge as strong contenders to lead the party.

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