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Who is Abe's successor? Japan's ex-kingmakers offer clues

Key positions in cabinet and party have been paths to prime minister

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gives a policy speech at the opening of the extraordinary Diet session on Oct. 4: Speculation is growing over who will succeed him. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

TOKYO -- Two Japanese leaders from the past offer clues to the mystery of who will succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when his term as president of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party expires in less than two years.

In a recent cabinet reshuffle, the prime minister placed the numerous "post-Abe contenders" in key government and LDP positions, leaving bureaucrats and lawmakers pondering who best qualifies as the front-runner.

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