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Three potential candidates in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Sept. 29 leadership election pushed to increase their support Sunday, outlining their policies and stances on certain issues.

On a YouTube program, Fumio Kishida, 64, former chairman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, said, “I will put effort particularly into protecting basic values,” adding he planned to name an adviser to the prime minister on human rights issues.

On a possible contingency in the Taiwan Strait, Kishida said, “We need to confirm in advance our country’s stance of acting resolutely if the situation meets the conditions stipulated in Japan’s peace and security legislation.”

In talks with reporters later, Kishida said: “Unlike last year, it is difficult to predict the result of the LDP contest. I will fight the upcoming election with a sense of tension until the last minute.” Kishida lost to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the September 2020 LDP leadership race.

On a television program, former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi, 60, reiterated her intention to continue visiting war-related Yasukuni Shrine if she becomes prime minister, saying, “I have freedom of religion.”

Sanae Takaichi speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. | AFP-JIJI
Sanae Takaichi speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. | AFP-JIJI

“I don’t know why the United States opposes (the visits),” Takaichi said, adding that she will call on the United States and China to pay respect together to those who lost their lives for their respective countries.

The Shinto shrine in Tokyo, which honors Class-A World War II criminals alongside millions of war dead, is regarded by many countries as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, especially by China and South Korea.

Regulatory reform minister Taro Kono, 58, exchanged opinions with students online. On how to promote the use of renewable energy, Kono said that financial and other support has been insufficient, stressing the need to overhaul the current policy.

He did not refer to whether Japan should end its dependence on nuclear energy for power generation.

Kono, known as an advocate for the elimination of nuclear power generation in the country, has recently modified his stance. Speaking with reporters earlier this month, Kono indicated he would tolerate restarts of nuclear power reactors whose safety is confirmed as the country aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Taro Kono speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Friday. | BLOOMBERG
Taro Kono speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Friday. | BLOOMBERG

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