TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is vying for his third re-election as the ruling party leader next week, extending his stay in power to work on his long-cherished ambition to revise his country's war-renouncing constitution.
Abe reportedly has already secured about 70 per cent of support from parliamentarians of the Liberal Democratic Party, and clinching the re-election would allow him up to three more years to work on a possible charter change.
He has to tackle the economy and other priorities too. He faces Shigeru Ishiba, a former defence minister, in next Thursday's only public debate before the September 20 vote.
The 63-year-old Abe, prime minister since December 2012, could also become Japan's longest-serving leader with a historic third term.