08:51 GMT18 September 2020
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan Yoshihide Suga will join the race to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who will also become the country's next prime minister, the Kyodo news agency reported on Sunday, citing a source familiar with the matter.

    According to the news agency, Suga has already informed Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, who is set to make decisions regarding the party leadership race, of his intention to run for the top post.

    The party is considering holding a leadership election on or around September 15, the news agency reported, adding that among other candidates, there are the party's policy chief and former Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, as well as former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo
    © AP Photo / Koji Sasahara
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo

    Abe officially announced on Friday his plan to step down, citing health issues. He has already informed the leadership of the ruling party, of which he is the head, and Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of the Komeito party, which is a part of the ruling coalition.

    The outgoing prime minister is leaving office due to ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease that already caused him to abandon the premiership in 2007. Despite those circumstances, he once again assumed the prime minister's chair in 2012 and went on to become the longest-serving Japanese head of government.

    Tags:
    Yoshihide Suga, Shinzo Abe, Japan
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