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These issues have been addressed in recent weeks by the other two contenders — Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who declared his candidacy Aug. 21 and had recommended that the Tokyo shrine be stripped of its religious status, and Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, who on July 27 announced his intention to run and said he would not visit the shrine and would push for a sales tax hike.

“Let’s not carry over the financial burden of the country to our children and grandchildren,” Tanigaki told the LDP convention, referring to the country’s deficit that ballooned during the economic slump that began in the early 1990s.

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