The corridors of power in Tokyo’s Nagato-cho district on Wednesday resounded with speculation on the possible replacement of embattled Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, currently in Brunei for a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Top Liberal Democratic Party officials spent the day trying to quell widespread rumors that Mori will be forced to step down after the LDP’s largest faction, led by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, effectively abandoned the unpopular prime minister Tuesday night.

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