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Three of the four candidates in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership race on Wednesday expressed a willingness to promptly launch a children’s agency as advocated by outgoing LDP President and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Regulatory reform minister Taro Kono, former LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida and LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Seiko Noda each took a positive stance on the issue during a debate session organized by a group of young and mid-career LDP lawmakers.

The other candidate, former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi, in a video message, didn’t take a clear position on the issue.

Meanwhile, all the candidates supported setting up a new Cabinet post focused on policies for children.

“A single agency in charge of child and family issues is necessary,” Kono said in the debate. “I would advance efforts on this challenge by creating a dedicated Cabinet post.”

“Now is the right time to consider a desirable form of administration for children,” Kishida said. “I would create a new agency to oversee related policies, budgets and laws.”

Noda said the establishment of a children’s agency would represent “a paradigm shift not just for children but also for adult society.”

Takaichi said she would “consider what is the most effective organization to promote policies for children.”

From left: Taro Kono, Fumio Kishida, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda prior to a debate on Saturday at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo. | BLOOMBERG
From left: Taro Kono, Fumio Kishida, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda prior to a debate on Saturday at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo. | BLOOMBERG

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