• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Saturday he will cast a vote for Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe in the Sept. 20 presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

It is the first time the outgoing prime minister has publicly voiced support for Abe. He said Abe has taken the lead in propelling his reform drives throughout the five years Koizumi has been at the nation’s helm.

Abe is seen as certain to win the LDP presidential election and be elected prime minister by the Diet later in the month.

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