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China, pandemic, energy top Japan’s leadership race debate


Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Four candidates vying to lead Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party _ and replacing outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga _ have held their first main debate. They discussed plans to tackle key issues such as China, the COVID-19 measures, the pandemic-hit economy and climate change. The vote will be held on Sept. 29. Vaccinations Minister Taro Kono, a front-runner who served as foreign and defense ministers, says a possible conflict cannot be ruled out amid China’s growing assertiveness and rising tensions over Taiwan, a self-ruled island China considers as its renegade province. Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida says dialogue is key for a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan issue and plans to work with others to counter Beijing’s “authoritarian approach.”

Associated Press

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