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On the surface, the Japanese political landscape has seemed stable the past few months even through an Upper House election and Cabinet reshuffle, but that stability has masked the jockeying taking place behind the scenes.

Behind the veil of party unity, players within the Liberal Democratic Party have sought to position themselves for the top spot in the line of succession, and that line is changing. Big-name LDP politicians who were front-runners for post-Abe leadership a few years ago have fallen behind the pack, while others have positioned themselves well.

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