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Liberal Democratic Party heavyweight and current minister for regional revitalization Shigeru Ishiba launched his own faction within the ruling party Monday, with an eye toward succeeding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the party’s next president.

A total of 19 LDP lawmakers joined Ishiba’s new faction, making it the sixth-biggest among the party’s eight factions. The members include former Vice Finance Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa, former financial services minister Yuji Yamamoto, former environment minister Ichiro Kamoshita and former health minister Norihisa Tamura.

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