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Liberal Democratic Party heavyweight Shigeru Ishiba has suggested that he may run in the ruling party’s leadership election slated for Sept. 29.

“I need to consider until the day before” the leadership race officially starts on Sept. 17, the former LDP secretary-general told reporters Friday in his constituency, the western city of Tottori. “Whether I will run or not, I still have time.”

Initially, Ishiba sounded negative about running for the party’s presidency, as he called for the party election to be postponed until after the next House of Representatives election, due to take place by this autumn, citing the current pandemic situation.

With the party election now likely to precede the Lower House poll, however, Ishiba appeared to have changed his stance.

“I receive lots of phone calls and emails from the party’s local chapter and youth division members and others saying ‘What would you do if you won’t run?'” Ishiba said.

“I’m also encouraged by my lawmaker colleagues,” he said, “I think there will be further developments” in the run-up to the leadership poll.

Ishiba added that even if he decides to run in the race, it will be a challenge for him to gather the minimum required 20 nominations from among party lawmakers.

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