TOKYO: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary SUGA Yoshihide plans to run in a ruling party race to choose a successor to outgoing Prime Minister ABE Shinzo, informed sources said Sunday.
Suga, 71, conveyed his intention to run for the Liberal Democratic Party presidency to LDP Secretary-General NIKAI Toshihiro in a meeting on Saturday, the sources said.
A 47-member LDP faction led by Nikai plans to support Suga in the leadership race. Senior officials of a faction led by former General Council Chairman Wataru Takeshita are rallying support for Suga from its 54 members.
Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who leads a 54-member faction, has signaled support for Suga.
Abe, also LDP president, announced his resignation for health reasons Friday. Abe, who is from a 98-member faction led by former Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda, has told aides that he prefers Suga as his successor.
Fumio Kishida, 63, chairman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, also expressed his intention to run in the leadership race. He leads a 47-member faction.
The LDP is likely to hold a vote on Sept. 14 among party lawmakers and prefectural chapter representatives to choose a new president. The General Council is expected to formalize the procedures on Tuesday.
The party is considering convening a parliamentary session on Sept. 17 to elect a new prime minister.
Former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, 63, said he will decide whether to run for the party presidency after watching if rank-and-file members are allowed to vote.
Ishiba, who leads a 19-member faction, was popular among rank-and-file members in past LDP leadership elections. A faction member said there is a possibility that he will skip the race this time.
Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, who voted for Ishiba in the previous 2018 election, said he will support Defense Minister Taro Kono, 57, if he runs.