With exactly one week left until the Liberal Democratic Party leadership election campaign kicks off, Taro Kono, the public’s favorite in opinion polls, finally threw his hat into the ring.

At a packed news conference on Friday, Kono touched on his achievements as the minister in charge of administrative reform and the vaccine rollout. He touted moves to slash cumbersome bureaucratic customs, promote teleworking and achieve more than 1 million vaccinations a day as some of his biggest victories.

He also cited his experience in negotiating vaccine deals with other countries, saying it showed his ability to coordinate with different stakeholders, giving him an advantage over other candidates.