Tokyo – Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is set to decide on Tuesday the schedule of a leadership race to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has announced his resignation due to health issues.
The party is expected to hold its leadership election on Sept. 14 with votes cast by lawmakers of the national parliament and delegates from its local chapters, Kyodo News reported.
Japan’s government spokesman Yoshihide Suga, who is reportedly expected to announce his candidacy for the job, was gaining wide support among LDP lawmakers, local media reported.
Suga, who has been in the position since Abe took office in December 2012, will declare his candidacy in the race on Wednesday, Kyodo reported, citing an unnamed LDP source.
Both former foreign minister Fumio Kishida and former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba are expected to follow suit later on Tuesday, the report said.
Abe announced his resignation on Friday after he was diagnosed with a recurrence of an intestinal illness, called ulcerative colitis, earlier in August following repeated hospital visits.
In July 2007, the disease forced Abe to abruptly quit as prime minister, only one year into the job.
Abe’s sudden announcement comes amid a historic recession and a new wave of the novel coronavirus.