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The faithful lieutenant has — against initial expectations — taken a major step toward the pinnacle of his political career.

Yoshihide Suga, the chief Cabinet secretary, won by a landslide in the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election Monday, becoming the presumptive successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Suga is expected to take the helm at a critical moment when the country has been hit by a pandemic and economic slump and is grappling with national security issues.

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