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As Fumio Kishida began his tenure as the 100th prime minister of Japan this week, there were mixed feelings of hope and anxiety about the new administration as the nation grapples with gargantuan tasks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with the U.S.-China rivalry and reviving a battered economy.

The ambivalence was evident in the Liberal Democratic Party presidential race. Although Kishida prevailed with the support of parliamentary members, he received only 29% of rank-and-file votes in contrast with rival Taro Kono’s 44%.

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