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Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s party kicked off a key race Wednesday to choose its co-head, with the emerging victor certain to face a bumpy road as Kibo no To (Party of Hope) struggles to maintain its relevance following a dismal election showing last month.

Former Democratic Party lawmakers Yuichiro Tamaki and Hiroshi Ogushi are vying for the top party spot to serve alongside Koike in the election scheduled for Friday.

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