TOKYO: KONO Taro and KISHIDA Fumio lead the race among four candidates for leadership of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, closely trailed by TAKAICHI Sanae, according to a Jiji Press survey on LDP lawmakers.
The survey, conducted on Monday through Sunday, showed that Kono, regulatory reform minister, and Kishida, former chairman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, both garner support from around 25 percent of party lawmakers.
Takaichi, former internal affairs minister, has the backing of about 20 pct of party lawmakers. Seiko Noda, executive acting LDP secretary-general, has support from only about 5 percent.
About 20 percent of party lawmakers remain undecided about who to vote for in the race to pick the successor to outgoing LDP President and Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide.
The candidates are vying for 764 votes, which are equally divided between LDP lawmakers and rank-and-file members. The lawmakers will cast their ballots on Sept. 29.
Kono has support mainly from young and middle-ranking LDP members excluding those from a faction led by Kishida. Kishida is backed by members of his own faction and veteran lawmakers from some other factions.
Takaichi, strongly backed by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has support from young and middle-ranking members of a faction led by former LDP Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda on which Abe has strong influence.
Noda has been struggling to win support from other than the 20 LDP lawmakers who endorsed her bid for party presidency.
A separate Jiji press survey on the LDP’s 47 prefectural chapters showed that Kishida has support from 12, most among the four candidates.
Kono has support from three chapters and Takaichi from two, while none back Noda. Twenty-nine did not say who to support.
The survey also showed that 25 prefectural chapters want younger generations to lead the party.