Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba signaled on Thursday his intention to run in the Liberal Democratic party leadership race in September as a challenger to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"We should have an election (in which candidates face off)," Ishiba said, adding that there is "no point at all" in running if there is no challenge to the status quo.

His remarks, made at a meeting of editorial writers at media organizations subscribing to Kyodo News, were seen as expressing his determination to run against Abe, who is serving his second term as the LDP leader.