Three of the four candidates vying to lead the Liberal Democratic Party called Sunday for Japan to maintain its nuclear fuel recycling program as they geared up for the last few days of campaigning prior to Wednesday's vote.

During a Fuji TV program, vaccination minister Taro Kono, the only contender who has pushed for phasing out nuclear power generation, went against his leadership rivals and said Japan should pivot away from fuel recycling "as soon as possible."

On the other hand, Seiko Noda, executive acting secretary-general of the LDP, said the process is necessary to ensure a stable power supply.