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14 days ago

Japan’s Kono Enters Race

Japan's popular coronavirus vaccination minister, Taro Kono, announced his candidacy on Friday to lead the ruling party and, by extension, become the next prime minister. His image marks him as an outspoken reformer with a conservative streak. Kono portrays himself as taking on Japan's stodgy bureaucracy, underscoring his achievements in breaking down barriers during the vaccination rollout and promoting working from home. Known as a critic of nuclear energy, Kono has begun sounding more cautious on that topic, declining to be labeled "anti-nuclear." The departure of current Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down, sets the stage for a “generational change” inside the party. Local media reported that Suga is set to back Kono to succeed him. Kono has mass appeal, particularly among the younger generation in Japan. At times criticized for his short temper; Kono said he would be an empathetic leader who "laughs and cries together" with the Japanese people and would aim to create a "warm" country where everyone who worked hard had a chance to succeed.
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3 weeks ago