September 5, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese former cabinet minister Sanae Takaichi has secured enough support in the ruling party to join the race to succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The former internal affairs minister, seeking to become Japan’s first woman premier, had been struggling to gain the backing of the 20 Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers needed to run for LDP president in a race scheduled for Sept. 29.

The party leader becomes prime minister because of the LDP’s majority in parliament.

Takaichi received a boost by winning the support of Suga’s long-serving predecessor Shinzo Abe, local media reported on Saturday.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by William Mallard)