Kono's unorthodox communication style is a double-edged sword and has made him a polarizing figure among some of the Liberal Democratic Party's influential old guard.
With the reported backing of former PM Shinzo Abe, the ex-internal affairs and communications minister has a shot at becoming the nation's first female prime minister.
Some parents have taken the rare step of stopping their children from going to school due to fears over classroom infections and their own close contacts.
Incentives such as cars and coupons, as well as new walk-in centers, are being rolled out to tempt vaccine-hesitant young people, but supply issues present a big barrier of their own.
The government has widened the use of the drug Ronapreve, but some doctors say it needs to go further and make it available to patients isolating at home too.
Athletes and officials are caught between worries over COVID-19 and their belief in what the Paralympics can do for inclusiveness and disability sports.
YouTube viewers are praising music director Konnie Aoki’s English translation of “Yoru ni Kakeru,” which sounds strikingly similar to the original Japanese version.
After a government task force issued a notice telling ministries to abandon their fax machines, it was inundated with about 400 responses from officials.
Detractors of the country's system of sole parental authority say it promotes child "abductions," while supporters say change could exacerbate domestic abuse.
The scandal over the musician's admission of having bullied and assaulted people with disabilities is the latest in a long line to have beset the troubled Tokyo Olympics.