TOKYO – Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Wednesday decided to hold a presidential election on Sept 14 to pick Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s successor, local media reported.

The race for the party’s top position will officially start on Sept 8. The newly-elected prime minister will serve the remainder of Abe’s term as the president of the party through September 2021.

The winner of the election will be anointed the country’s new prime minister at an extraordinary parliamentary session, possibly to be convened on Sept 16, according to local media reports.

Yoshihide Suga, 71, who has been Chief Cabinet Secretary for nearly eight years and considered as a continuity candidate, is scheduled to formally declare his candidacy at a press conference early Wednesday evening.

Two other contenders in the election are former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, who announced their candidacies on Tuesday.

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