Japan vaccine minister seeks to be next prime minister

By MARI YAMAGUCHI Associatd Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's outspoken vaccinations minister, Taro Kono, has announced that he is running to become the head of the governing party, who usually is chosen prime minister, and pledged to be reform-minded and gets things done.

Kono, a Georgetown University graduate who is fluent in English, has many fans among younger people, with whom he communicates via social media, a rarity in Japanese politics.

Kono's declaration comes a week after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's sudden announcement that he will not seek another term as head of the governing Liberal Democratic Party.

The winner is virtually certain to be elected prime minister by parliament because the party and its coalition partner hold a majority of seats.

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