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The Liberal Democratic Party leadership race is now set, and the three runners are at their marks. Granted, with five of seven factions backing him and an election engineered to handicap one of the candidates, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is already well ahead of the pack.

With Suga’s assured victory, we now have a clearer outlook of Japan’s political landscape for the next twelve months. However, while many are hoping this party election will put an end to Japan’s leadership debate, the LDP’s actions these past few weeks reveal that victory in this month’s race only represents the first hurdle, not the finish line.

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