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EDITORIAL: LDP candidates should address botched handling of pandemic

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Dealing with the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be one of the top policy priorities for the next leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who will succeed outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

But the four candidates running in the LDP presidential race have not spent enough time discussing key issues related to this crucial policy challenge.

Debate on the challenge should focus on what the main factors are behind the Suga administration’s botched handling of the health crisis and why public support for his Cabinet waned. These questions are at the heart of the failed political leadership that forced Suga to give up seeking re-election in the party poll, to be held on Sept. 29.

But these questions also have a bearing on the responsibility of the four candidates, who were all, as Cabinet members or as LDP heavyweights, in positions to support Suga and give candid advice to him when necessary.

When asked about what Suga failed to offer or do in a Sept. 18 debate hosted by the Japan National Press Club, the four candidates cited “meticulous explanations” about his policies and “preparing for the worst.”

But the tactless way Suga communicated his policies to the public was not the........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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