• Kyodo

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Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga expressed his strong intention late Monday to run for the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election in September.

Speaking with Japanese reporters during his Jakarta visit, Defense Agency Director General Nukaga acknowledged there are views within his LDP faction, led by Lower House member Yuji Tsushima, that he should avoid a “futile battle.”

It is believed that many in the faction, previously led by the late former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, will vote for the front-runner, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, if Nukaga chooses not to run.

“I want to fully sort out my thoughts as to what is the necessity, if there is any, to run in the election at this time,” Nukaga said.

His remarks were taken to indicate a final decision will come soon.

On specific policies, he said it is necessary to “redefine Asian diplomacy,” particularly toward China and South Korea.

On the consumption tax, he said it is necessary to raise it from the current 5 percent but did not go into details.

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