What a difference a week makes.  Last week, it seemed that the prime minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, would not be seriously challenged in the party’s leadership race. Yes, there were names floated as possibilities in the press, but none were seen as threats. Nor were they public favorites in media polling.

One of those is former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, currently head of the party’s policy research committee, who ran last year in the race to succeed former prime minister Shinzo Abe when he resigned suddenly. Kishida has his own faction with 46 members and is widely respected within the party. A reserved and quiet man, he has not attracted a lot of popular enthusiasm.  In last year’s party race, Kishida struggled to garner support despite his strong ties to the former prime minister and his diplomatic experience.

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But last week, Kishida came out swinging. Interestingly,…

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