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LDP's new policy chief Kishida candidate to succeed Abe

Fumio Kishida, who gave up a key Cabinet post to become chairman
of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Policy Research Council in
Thursday's overhaul, is seen as a potential successor to Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe.

Taking on his first leadership post at the LDP will allow
Kishida, 60, to gain experience traditionally required of all party
leaders. He had reportedly asked Abe to move him out of the Cabinet
and into the party.

As foreign minister since the LDP's return to power in 2012,
Kishida has worked to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and tackle
outstanding issues with China, Russia and South Korea.

Under his watch, Japan and South Korea reached a "final"
agreement in late 2015 over Korean women forced to work in Japanese
military brothels in World War II.

Hailing from a prominent Hiroshima political family, Kishida
helped realize U.S. President Barack Obama's historic visit in May
last year to the western Japan city devastated by a U.S. atomic
bombing in 1945.

Kishida is known for his measured, unemotional demeanor. The
head of a liberal-leaning faction within the LDP, he has expressed
reservations over Abe's plans to amend the Japanese Constitution's
war-renouncing Article 9.

A graduate of Waseda University, Kishida worked for a bank
before his election to the House of Representatives in 1993. He has
been elected to the lower house eight times. (Aug. 3)

Japanese Foreign and Defense Minister Fumio Kishida
arrives at the party headquarters in Tokyo on Aug. 3,
2017, ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reshuffle of
his Cabinet and LDP leadership. Kishida, viewed as
a front-runner to succeed Abe, was appointed as
chairman of the LDP's policy making body. (Kyodo)