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The policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Hakubun Shimomura, said Monday he will not challenge Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the party’s upcoming leadership race and will instead continue focusing on drawing up COVID-19 countermeasures.

The LDP Policy Research Council chairman had earlier expressed his desire to run in the Sept. 29 election, which will take place amid growing public dissatisfaction over Suga’s pandemic response.

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