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The fatal rains and flooding in western Japan — and the ongoing difficulties caused by the extent of the damage and record high temperatures — have revived calls for creating a disaster prevention ministry that can coordinate and streamline rescue and relief efforts.

The question is one that may influence the outcome of the Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential race in September, with a key member and tough challenger to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joining local politicians in calling for a ministry-level organization.

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