Japan’s ruling party to vote for new leader to replace Suga

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s governing party will vote to pick its new leader Wednesday, with the presumed next prime minister facing imminent, crucial tasks such as the pandemic and ensuring a strong alliance with the U.S. The new leader also needs to change the party’s high-handed reputation and quickly turn around plunging public support ahead of lower house elections coming within two months. The afternoon vote includes only LDP parliamentarians and grassroots members, and results will be known within hours. Taro Kono, the vaccinations minister, and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida are considered the top contenders. In a rarity for Japan, two women are competing — ultra-conservative Sanae Takaichi and liberal-leaning Seiko Noda. 

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