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Japan’s widening wealth gap has emerged as a key issue in a ruling party leadership contest that will decide who becomes the next prime minister, with candidates forced to reassess the legacy of former premier Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” policies.

Under Abenomics — a mix of expansionary fiscal and monetary policies and a growth strategy deployed by Abe in 2013 — share prices and corporate profits boomed, but a government survey published earlier this year showed households barely benefited.

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