The ruling Liberal Democratic Party officially decided Wednesday to revise its party rules to extend the maximum tenure of its president to nine years from the current six, granting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a chance at a third term.

The move represents a significant step toward the prospect of Abe becoming Japan's longest-serving prime minister ever.

At a party meeting Wednesday, the LDP unanimously adopted a statement saying a current cap on an LDP leader's tenure will be extended from six years over two terms to nine years over three terms.