Since Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga assumed office last month, 57-year-old Taro Kono, the minister in charge of administrative reform, has found himself increasingly in the spotlight, prompting speculation he might succeed Suga.

Kono has sometimes been outspoken on differences with other members of the Liberal Democratic Party, earning him a reputation as something of a maverick.

He has made no secret of his desire to eventually become prime minister. For the moment, he finds himself in charge of carrying out something he has long advocated, which is all manner of government reform.